Blankfile, the Belgrade hardcore outfit known for their explosive sound and relentless energy, groovy rhythms and in your face riffs, has returned with a vengeance. A little over a month ago, they released their latest EP, “Gold Standard,” solidifying their place as a force to be reckoned with in the international hardcore scene. Building on the foundation laid by their previous release, “Truth Be Sold,” the band has refined their musical prowess and delivered a collection of six hard-hitting tracks that speak to their commitment to quality and authenticity.
In this exclusive track by track commentary, Blankfile takes us on a journey through the creation of “Gold Standard,” sharing the inspiration behind their music, the production process, and their recent experiences playing alongside Stick To Your Guns in Sofia. Dive into their world as we explore the depth and substance that defines the “Truth Be Gold” saga.
“Gold Standard” explores themes of resilience, self-acceptance, and personal growth amidst life’s struggles. The EP is a powerful blend of intense riffs and captivating lyrics that delve into the band’s experiences and the societal forces that surround them. From addressing the pressures of conformity and embracing one’s unique identity, to finding strength in loved ones and reflecting on their own journey as a band, “Gold Standard” is a heartfelt expression of the struggles, victories, and unwavering spirit that define Blankfile’s music and message.
01. The Counterweight
We love to open our releases with short a preview song which sets the mood for the whole thing. We introduced this practice on “Truth Be Sold” and people liked it. In this case, the intro song had to be powerful yet slow, raw yet sophisticated, all at the same time. The result was “The Counterweight “, a song that features one of our most, if not the most, intense riffs on “Gold Standard”. You can feel the pressure building up from the first second the song kicks in. With such a heavy riff as the foundation the lyrics needed to hit hard as well. Without pulling any punches we just started swinging right out of the gate. We don’t make our songs to be rated on a scale from one to ten. Our creation is our reaction, our counterweight if you will, to all events and people that surround us. In a way, this song is our mission statement.
Punchline: “I am the counterweight!”
02. Witch Hunt
Full speed ahead! This is a classic Cali meets NY hardcore song, as far as the music arrangement goes. The only departure from that style can be heard during the chorus where the listener could hear a bit more metallic hardcore structure. But it comes right back to the pure hardcore power shortly afterwards. The lyrics can be interpreted in many ways, which is the beauty of this song. It could be read, very simply, as a story of a man (or woman) who can offer much more than society could comprehend and accept. A story about being pushed to fit a certain mold. On a higher level, it is a story about society’s fear of change and of the ones who are different. But it can easily get to biblical proportions if you get really deep. It will navigate you through a story about nature’s duality and fallen angels. The higher power is with the one who accepts his/her fate of being different. Any resemblance to Bulgakov’s character Voland is NOT purely coincidental.
Punchline: „You can call it different names, but I will call it bliss!“
03. Sablja (traditional type of the sword used in the locality of Serbia during the Ottoman Empire)
Here it is, the first song in our native language. I (Petar) came up with this one out of nowhere. Just entered the studio and said, “This one is going to be in Serbian!”. It’s not like we’ve never tried to write in Serbian, but with our previous efforts didn’t sound quite right and we didn’t enjoy playing them. This time it sounded right from the get-go. I had the lyrics ready, the flow of the song as well, and the boys got on board with the idea easily. The massive breakdown at the end of the song was added later during the writing process and it fit the song so f***ing perfectly. The song is a revolutionary statement. But it’s not entertaining pathetic or freedom-to-people speech. The protagonist accepts fate as it is, unjust and tormenting, but turns it into a means to amend his own capacity to strike back when the time comes. We spiced it up by adding Njegoš’s quote in the chorus. Njegoš was a poet and philospher, considered as one of the most influential in our local literature, but also to the national spirit.
Punchline: „Glasan si na lažima, gaziš nam po snovima, a mene to radi na bes!“
04. Day After Day
I wanted to write a song about one’s powerlessness to change what one’s true nature is. As if we are all predetermined to live by the code written in our DNA and, no matter how hard we try to change it, we always come back to the same point, eventually. This is how I feel very often and I’m sure it’s not just me. The arrangement of this song is a neat mixture of two flows. The first one, the verse, a heavy down-stroke riff using the same crunchy note encompassed with a narrative which goes line after line after line, no stopping there. The second one is the chorus, where the song gets more jumpy and hardcore-punkish, offering singalongs on “day after day after day!”. Both easy to memorize and hopefully catchy enough to make people start ponging immediately. A special treat from our producers from Boston was the breakdown section. The way they played around with the vocals’ mix there – Perfetto!
Punchline: “I am trying to do better, but I can’t stop f**king up!”
05. The Final Round
This one is the most personal song of the EP. It’s inspired by a true event, one of us collapsing and ending up in the hospital bed for ten days, while the doctors were fighting for his life. Thankfully, it is a story with a happy ending, but not all such stories end well. So, this is also a message of support to all people out there fighting their own “final rounds.” The lyrics are what drive this song while the instruments take a backseat and just enjoy the ride. The strongest part of the story is, naturally, just before the breakdown, introduced with the lyrics „Keep your head up, my kiddo, I’m coming home!”. Yup, it is a life saver – having someone or something to fight for and return to. If you have something like this, you are invincible. The chorus features a smashing riff adding a flavor of slam core to the arrangement. If the song does not inspire people to start fighting their own demons it should, at least, inspire them to throw one hell of a mosh party at this point.
Punchline: obviously, “Keep your head up, my kiddo, I’m coming home!”
Definitely, our bro-hymn. An homage to our band’s life story. We’ve been through many hardships these past 15 years, while trying to keep the band running. We’ve experienced the general downfall of society, poorly developed music scene in Serbia, events impacting our work, personal struggles, band members leaving, and a lot of critics and controversy around our band. We fought our way through it all, not following anyone’s instructions, never learning to behave. It was, and it still is, just us and what our hearts are telling is the right thing to do.
This song tells that story. In terms of music and lyrics, the song is also the “dumbest” song of the EP, hahaha… it is so simple and straightforward that there is no room for interpretations. We had to give ourselves a break from addressing the wider picture and higher goals. This one is our guilty pleasure. On the other hand, it’s an ultimate shout-out to those who support our band and philosophy. It would fill our hearts with joy if people rode this wave with us. But it is equally fine if they don’t. All we need is BFHC!
Punchline: “It’s been one hell of ride, no looking back!”