Swedish death metal machine Bloodbath return with their fifth proper album The Arrow of Satan Is Drawn, their second helmed by Paradise Lost’s Nick Holmes. They did have a lineup change as guitarist Sodomizer stepped down and was replaced by Craft’s Joakim Karlsson.
Regardless of who is on the axework, Bloodbath are always of the aim that more HM-2 buzzsaw riffs are their target and on “Bloodicide” you get that wonderful guitar sound punctuated by Martin Axenrot’s battery work. The track also serves as a who’s who of death metal vocalists who guest on this track, in particular Jeff Walker (Carcass), John Walker (Cancer) and Karl Willets (ex-Bolt Thrower, Memoriam); quite the history lesson.
You get a wonderful swinging guitar and drum combination on “Wayward Samaritan” and “Warhead Ritual. D-beat is the way for this track and feels like sections could work in a punk rock fashion as well. The middle section of “Deader” and “March of the Crucifiers” showcase the band’s ability to go from a straightforward death metal approach to one more akin to Holmes usual doomy haunts in combination with the horrific guitar tone.
Bloodbath deliver a solid follow up to 2014’s Grand Morbid Funeral, not treading new ground for this aurally ancient collective. This is an album that feels like it was part of 1991’s Stockholm scene and for good reason; that guitar tone.
Holmes does a masterful job filling the shoes of other big time vocalists like Mikael Akerfeldt and Dan Swano to name a few and the rest of this well-oiled machine continues to plod along through this funeral march which even closes out with a song that could likely describe the whole album: “Chainsaw Lullaby.” Putting you to bed among nightmares of a sound that is clearly on the left hand path. Death metal fans should embrace Bloodbath at every turn.
(released October 26, 2018 on Peaceville Records)
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Watch Bloodbath – “Chainsaw Lullaby” Video