When an album moves your soul like it hasn’t been moved in years, it’s hard to find the right words to translate the feeling. Add to that the trials of filtering the hatred I’ll experience when I read the multitude of reviews writing this off as merely a decent, retro Death, just-for-fun gag. Well, sorry Terrorizer, your Niles and Dillingers can’t hold a fucking candle to Bloodbath’s simplistic mastery of the not-so-ancient art. (Death Metal never died, the labels and the writers just jumped onto a more prosperous bandwagon.) Metalheads take note, the modern day Reign in Blood is upon us. I’m not even going to go into the members that comprise this project. If you don’t know, you don’t matter. This LP is a little different from the classic Breeding Death EP. The musicianship is upped a notch, that is to say the riffs are a tad more complex, and there are actually a couple solos, albeit they are in the vein of the spastic fretboard-slaughter variety a la Deicide’s first album. So, it’s not quite the same first-listen flooring as the EP, but after a week, I was twice as addicted. This album, more so than the EP, embraces the old Swedish sound that bands like Entombed, Grave, and Dismember brought to life in the early ’90s, and it’s none more evident than on the album’s standout opener “Ways to the Grave.” Layered in the Sunlight sound with one of the most diabolical melodies ever recorded, this song begins the journey, with the best vocalist in Metal today as your guide. Before you can pick up your jaw, up next is “So You Die,” with a chorus so infectious your grandma would growl along, and “Mass Strangulation,” with an opening riff almost Burzumesque in its misanthropic flow. The heart of the album then forges on with unparalleled intensity and dynamics leading up to the final two cuts, the chunky groove-laden “Like Fire,” and the apocalyptic closer, “Cry My Name.” By the end of this sinister opus, you’re drenched in sweat, your jaw’s sore from grinding your teeth, and you’re twitching from the adrenaline rush you’ve just endured. It’s almost as if you become this album. Death Metal has never sounded this alive.
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