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Swedish death metal band Blood Mortized last year gave fans a preview of what's to come with their Bestial EP, presenting the further advancement in the melodic Swedish death metal style that the band kicked off with on their 2009 debut self-titled full length. This year the band releases the follow up with their new album, The Key to a Black Heart, with the band having a large challenge to overcome with the plethora of Swedish-styled death metal releases recently, and with Bestial being a rather mediocre release with little distinctive elements.
And as usual, the cutting guitar tone and d-beat drumming that were pioneered by such bands as Entombed and Nihilist are instantly recognisable as the album begins, though the band takes a slight twist in their songwriting on The Key to a Black Heart, often slowing down into doom-paced segments, such as on Unleashing the Hounds where the band slows down rather unexpectedly to build the tension in the atmosphere, though unfortunately the impact that came after that was less than what was expected. For the most part though, Blood Mortized carries on with the style that was laid down from their self-titled debut, with lead guitars on songs like The Heretic Possession containing nice melodic hooks that nicely contrasted the aggressive riffs. At times, the band sounds like a melodic death metal band infused with elements of old school Swedish death metal, and this is evident on the riffing style of guitarist Anders on Only Blood can Tell.
Two tracks that were present on the Bestial EP were also present on The Key to a Black Heart, and while Rekviem sounded rather off and lacked energy on the short EP, on the full length this turned out to be a slightly more pleasing experience, with the music on the album being largely of a mid-paced nature. This was, however, also where the band falters, and the songs on the album could have definitely benefitted had the band decide to include more speed and intensity on the songs. While other contemporary Swedish death metal bands like Entrails and Feral manage to incorporate crushing riffs or speed in one way or another in their albums, Blood Mortized's music on The Key to a Black Heart lacked neither the energy nor the impact to really leave an impression on the listener.