February 6, 2006 | | 4

Bloodbath, Nightmares Made Flesh

I can’t honestly say why it’s taken me almost a full year to purchase this album, but it has. And I’m more than pissed at myself for not picking it up sooner. The “super group” that is Bloodbath encompasses some of the best Swedish death metalers that the world has to offer. Even with recent line-up changes for their latest release — Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy) on lead vocals and Martin Axenrot on drums — the band’s sound remains uncompromising.

Bloodbath play Swedish death metal that is melodic a good portion of the time, but not so much so that it’s cheesy. The band’s sound is very well rooted in traditional death metal. There are plenty of insanely fast blasts from the drums, monstrous riffs from the guitars and, lyrically, all the gore and dark lord praise that you can shake a dismembered corpse at. And after hearing Tägtgren’s versatile range on this release, I’m going to have to look into some of Hypocrisy‘s material. The overall sound, while not ground-breaking, is a fresh and well performed take on brutal and traditional death metal.

Cancer of the Soul Right away, the band let’s you know what this album is all about. Quick drum work and rapid fire riffs start it up as Tägtgren quickly begins spewing the vocals. Some of the guitar work on this one reminds me of early Entombed, which is, in all honesty, nice to hear. The track is quick paced but not quite at a break-kneck level.

Brave New Hell “Brave New Hell” starts off with a catchy riff before erupting in a ferocity that really got the head nodding. The drumming on this one is impressively fast and controlled. The entire song has a great groove to it that boosts the momentum up a notch. It is one of the quicker tempo songs on the album fueled by plenty of thrash.

Soul Evisceration Insanely fast and chaotic drumming starts this one off with a tortured scream over top for good measure. It’s a bit slower paced than “Brave New Hell,” but equally brutal and full of plodding death. The guitar solos in this one are impressive and break up the pace of it nicely without slowing the momentum of the track. The track ends with the same tortured scream that started it off.

Outnumbering the Day More early Entombed riffage starts this one off. Tägtgren delivery just continues to impress and carry the album. This is track slower paced and has a more traditional death metal sound to it. Still has the head banging though. No denying that. The track ends oddly, almost prematurely before the final scream and be finished.

Feeding the Undead You’ve just got to love death metal song titles, and “Feeding the Undead” is about as classic a title as you can get. The pounding beat coming from the drums on this one make it a great song. Tägtgren churns out some near undecipherable vocals that just tear at your soul with reckless abandon.

Eaten As disturbing as the lyrics are, this song is perfectly timed as a nice respite from the full onslaught of thrash that was in the first 5 tracks. This is no instrumental by any means. It’s pure slow paced chugging death metal through and through. From what I’ve read in various other reviews and interviews, this lyrical content (“My one desire, my only true wish, is to be eaten”) has some truth to it. That’s just nutty.

Bastard Son of God You just knew that, this being a traditional death metal album, there was going to be some anti-religion, anti-Christianity tracks on it. And like me, you’d probably be a bit disappointed had there not been. And it’s one of the quicker paced and shorter tracks on the album.

Year of the Cadaver Race This one has plenty of thrash that slows at the chorus for some massive walls of sound, and then picks right back up with some speed. The lyrics are a bit campy on this one, prophesizing a future where all animals turn on their owners and destroy the human race — complete with sounds clips or people screaming. It’s one of the cheesier tracks on the album in terms of lyrics, but still a good listen.

The Ascension Along with the anti-religion content of a couple tracks ago, you also can’t go wrong with some lyrics telling of the dark lord rising again. Good stuff. The track, musically, starts off slow paced then picks up with some thrash and quicker vocal delivery. The chorus has is pretty catchy.

Draped in Disease Plague, mutation, and infection, oh my. Plenty of double bass drives the point home with this one along with wailing guitars.

Stillborn Savior Hells takes over the world in this one. And based on the scream from Tägtgren to start if off, it certainly seems like it has. This track is intense and pounding, slowing only at the chorus with a chugging pace.

Blood Vortex The final track on the album, prior to the two demo tracks, starts off with a Slayer-like riff that sticks in your head long after the album is complete. If this were the closer on the album it would have been perfect. But we have the demos.

Breeding Death and Ominous Bloodvomit The demos are a nice bonus to the album, but due to their production (and original vocalist belting out the lyrics) they don’t quite fit in with the rest of the album. I do have to say, with regard to Mikael Åkerfeldt’s delivery, he does have a more traditional, one dimensional style that I could definitely enjoy on a full length album. I’m already looking into purchasing their last album.

The version of the album that I purchased in January has different album art than was sent with the original packaging in March. Other than that it’s the same album complete with the aforementioned demo tracks. If you like your metal fast, dark, and gruesome with a bit of a groove to it, this is a fine addition to the collection.

Favorite Tracks:
Brand New Hell
Feeding the Undead
Bastard Son of God

Additional Notes:
Tracks 13 and 14 on this release are demos of material from their debut EP Breeding Death.