Bloodbath need very little introduction on their sixth album Survival Of The Sickest, being the quintessential death metal supergroup and all. Their members span the Swedish extreme metal landscape save for current vocalist and native Brit, Nick Holmes (Paradise Lost) who has helmed the band since their 2014 album Grand Morbid Funeral. That makes him their longest running front man in terms of overall releases to date.
The album artwork even hearkens back to the band’s own Nightmares Made Flesh due to Wes Benscoter being responsible for it, with bands like Cattle Decapitiation, Hooded Menace and Autopsy (including the new one) also to his credit. What does the latest iteration of this colossal collective sound like in 2022?
The album opens with a thrashy and crushing number in “Zombie Inferno” with Holmes at his death metal best and the experienced lineup of Jonas Renske and Anders Nystrom (Katatonia), Martin Axenrot (ex-Opeth) and newcomer Tomas Akvik helping the band to take fiendish flight.
“Malignant Maggot Therapy” and “Tales of Melting Flesh” are vile concoctions that feel very in line with the classic sounds of a 1991 played with aplomb, the intentionality and attention to detail helps to give life to death with repeated riffs bludgeoning the listener ad nauseum. The guitar tone evokes the auditory antiquity of a genre in its nascent state, played by people who helped to birth it.
It has been nearly four years since Bloodbath have graced us with a new LP and Survival Of The Sickest does a great job of showing what the band can bring to the frenetic fray that is professional sounding death metal played by experts meant for mass consumption. Meat and potatoes Swedish death metal is the name of the game here with plenty to enjoy for fans of the genre both new and old, with a large emphasis on the old school.
(released September 9, 2022 on Napalm Records)
Heavy Music HQ Rating:
Watch Bloodbath – “Zombie Inferno” Video