Four years have passed since the bland and disappointing Grand Morbid Funeral. Death Metal supergroup Bloodbath have raised their game for a second record with singer Nick Holmes at the helm. Having enjoyed this new release so much I had to go back and give GMF a spin again, it quickly becomes obvious why this new record is far superior. The band have recaptured the musical spark that made their records from the naughties so memorable, the production too has an energy and ferocity in its grasp where as its predecessor was a dull and lifeless grind of uninspired, routine and bitter Death Metal. Far from the heights soared in their past.
Given that previous setback, I almost passed this one by! I am glad I did not, The Arrow Of Satan Is Drawn brings the fun and flavor back to their music. The guitars are no longer scared to venture into grooving tangents and inflect characteristics a little of cuff for the brutal music, allowing the music to brood its atmospheres without constant excess. Its lead guitars rekindle those enigmatic bursts of twisted color that elevate and inspire conclusive climatic moments for its songs. The harmonization hits that sinister yet gleaming vibration, setting the tone for a proper Bloodbath record.
Its aesthetic are primed by distortion guitars frothing with a readiness from its thick, buzzing distortion tone that characters every note, lead and chord with a malevolent intensity. It fills and bleeds into the crevasses between instruments, an overpowering quality carefully managed as it nozzles the impact of its drums which sound permanently attached to the smothering buzz of this excessive guitar tone. It works but also means the riffs are king grabbing most of your attention and focus.
Its a guitar led record with a rare few compositions deterring from its lead. A couple of songs and sections slip past the quality filter, Levitator being one, sounding a grade behind its counterparts, a minor drawback. The majority of this record is firm and robust, a cutting selection of music good for the Bloodbath name but undoubtedly not their best work. The self awareness of its own ridiculousness seems to be ever more present with song names like "Chainsaw Lullaby" and it serves them well. Not taking it seriously lets the theatrics come to life. A far better record, I hope they keep this form.
Favorite Tracks: Bloodicide, Deader