Monday, April 21, 2008

Bloodbath - Unblessing the Purity CD Review

It’s hard not to go into listening to this EP with expectations running high. Considering the pedigree of the members of this band, which include musicians from Opeth, Katatonia, Witchery, and Edge of Sanity, you’d think that there would be no way that this album could not be amazing. Sadly, the album treads some very familiar territory and does not quite measure up to the masterpiece that could be expected.

I suppose we shouldn’t kid ourselves and expect Bloodbath to tread anywhere outside of the Swedish death metal genre, but there was at least a little hope that maybe some influences from the band members' work in Katatonia or Opeth would show through. However, that is not the case, and really hasn't ever been the case in Bloodbath's history. This is full bore, no-holds-barred, balls out death metal with “Mouth of Empty Praise” only touching briefly on a melodic guitar line mid-song. The EP starts off by throwing a vicious blast beat attack at you before letting up on the tempo just a hair to give the song some actual structure, which seems to be something these four songs at times lack -- the shifting of gears between the more grooved riffing and death metal blasting isn’t always the smoothest. There are no complaints about execution however, but at times the transitions seemed a bit forced or ill-fitting.

That being said, one of the best songs of this band’s career is most likely the aforementioned “Mouth of Empty Praise”. The band flirts with some melody in the guitar solos, all the while letting the song develop out of the band’s ingrained death metal format. It closes this EP in spectacular fashion with Michael Akerfeldt adding his always crushing vocals. Unlike his work with Opeth, there is not a single moment of melodic crooning on Unblessing the Purity -- it’s growls all the way through and, really, that’s the only type of vocal approach that works here. Throwing in some clean vocals just wouldn’t seem right and would feel much less credible alongside the punishing death metal onslaught.

Unblessing the Purity is short and sweet and to the point, everything and EP should be. Despite some weak moments, the overall execution of this mini-album is spot on. If they can iron out some of their transitions and maybe ease up a little on the blast beats, their next album is going to be a monstrosity of everything that is right in the death metal genre. This band knows what they’re doing and show it on this EP.

No comments: