Bloodbath are now a longstanding supergroup playing HM2-pedal loving death metal.
Curiously, for the first time in the band’s history they have managed to keep a vocalist for back to back albums. Here that is Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost fame who managed to ‘rediscover’ his distinct death metal vocal style for Bloodbath’s last album Grand Morbid Funeral. But with another album does come a small lineup change, this time in comes guitarist Joakim Karlsson of black metal band Craft, although he doesn’t bring much if any of his band’s musical style to this album.
Proceedings kick off in the expected vein with ‘Fleischmann’, a fast pounding drum before that distinctive guitar tone and powerful vocals come in and set the scene for what’s to come. ‘Bloodicide’ sees several of Holmes’ British death metal alumni create vocal havoc with small parts in the bridge. The appearances of Karl Willets (Bolt Thrower, Memoriam), Jeff Walker (Carcass) and John Walker (Cancer) adds a weight of pure death metal delight.
‘Wayward Samaritan’ feels as though the band wants to push into some faster material but sound a bit like Entombed on some bad speed. The guitar playing is lost in the fuzz of the pedal, although this improves as the song all but stops towards the end, allowing some clarity and power.
That is when The Arrow of Satan is Drawn feels at its most powerful, when it’s stomping along at a relative pace allowing everything to breathe its evil breath over everything, such as on ‘Levitator’ or the heavy as crude oil closer ‘Chainsaw Lullaby’. With everything else played at various paces, the music tends to be lost in the HM2 fuzz, forcing you to search for the memorable riffs in each track.
This album is exactly what you should have come to expect from Bloodbath by now, with the extra weight of their current vocalist and his obvious passion for this form of vocal outlet adding to the, ahem, joy listening this band and their music can bring. There are only a handful of bands left that really have the ability to play metal like this that feels simultaneously fresh and old within a couple of riffs, and they might just currently be the best at it. The Arrow of Satan is Drawn, and aimed towards you.
- Wayward Samaritan
- March of the Crucifiers
- Morbid Antichrist
- Warhead Ritual
- Only the Dead Survive
- Chainsaw Lullaby