You know, for about ten minutes into my first listen, I admit I was a tad concerned about the direction these Old School Death Metal immortals were heading in. With the addition of the dude from Witchery on drums, and the loss of the greatest Death Metal vocalist of all time, it’d have been impossible to not worry a little. And while it may be immediately evident that the “brutality comes through simplicity” mentality that the band was founded on has been slightly compromised by the addition of way more blasting, much faster speeds, more technical playing, and a lot more solos, I have a really hard time seeing the rationale of a blast beat and some showmanship being hindrances. By the second spin, I was doing the backing growls for the chorus of “Brave New Hell.” Peter Tagtgren gives his most brutal vocal performance since the Inferior Devoties EP, proving the only way to replace a legend is with another legend. Speaking of legends, I suppose I was a little foolish in my doubt when you consider the involvement of the Katatonia connection, as Nystrom and Renkse have yet to touch anything that did not turn to gold. Oh yeah, and there’s some guy named Dan Swano on guitars. The elder Gods are still revered, as the feel of classic Entombed is rich throughout the album, and when they do choose to grind, the intensity is in league with Napalm Death. The diabolically evil-sounding high note melodies found on tracks like “Cancer of the Soul” and “Outnumbering the Day” also bring to mind echoes of Necrophobic’s debut masterpiece, The Nocturnal Silence, and I’d be willing to wager any amount that no other Death Metal song this year will come close to the infectious catchiness or all-out heaviness of the deliciously deranged “Eaten.” The domestic version of this release contains two pre-Breeding Death demo tracks that serve to showcase that even through just a couple of raw mics, Bloodbath kick more ass than the leading brand. Long live Bloodbath. Long live Death.
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