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It has been widely stipulated that most of the truly consequential power metal revivalist bands had already made a mark in the studio by 2003, with the likes of Masterplan, Dragonforce and a few others from around said time period providing the future direction of the style. Naturally this gets a bit sketchy when considering the formation of newer projects by steadfast members of the metal community that trace their origin back a bit further, but in the case of Sweden's Bloodbound, the presence of Tad Morose veteran Urban Breed is more of an incidental happening, though a very important one when considering said band's sound. Suffice to say, Bloodbound throws a fair amount of sand into the gears of the overtly showy and rock radio oriented character of the 2 aforementioned bands, as well as a continuation of an older mode of power metal that was becoming a bit less common in the mid 2000s.
To describe Nosferatu in a nutshell, it is something of an amalgamation of the catchy, galloping traditionalism of Iron Maiden with the faster and epic-tinged mode of Swedish power metal offered up by Hammerfall and Dream Evil as they each inherited from Manowar, Judas Priest and Helloween. It differs primarily from the 2 fellow Swedish crusaders in question in that the lead guitar work is a good bit fancier, often times showing up even the shred happy character of Nocturnal Rites' Nils Norberg and rivaling Malmsteen himself, and also in that it sticks a bit more closely to the up tempo but not quite speed metal character of Iron Maiden's 1982-1988 era and employing a more repetitious melodic approach both via the guitars and vocals. Granted, nothing on here approaches the long-winded songwriting that often comes with most of Maiden's LPs, but it isn't uncommon to catch a clear nod to Piece Of Mind or Powerslave working through various parts of songs on here, be they longer songs with ballad elements or shorter, heavier hitting numbers.
While this album is anything but average in terms of its songwriting and energy, it is fairly well-rounded and ends up with a classic set of memorable anthems to creatures of the night and epic battles by largely playing it safe. Urban Breed's vocal assault is smooth and seemingly effortless, ending up in similar territory to that of Andre Matos and Henning Basse without the somewhat forced feel and excessive air-raid high notes. The songwriting plays into this smoothness and largely resorts to typical European tinged power metal with maybe a few more parts layered on top. Particularly in the cases of "Metal Monster", "Desdemonamelia" and "Into The Dark" the only thing separating these songs from a 90s Helloween or Stratovarius anthem is a slightly busier riff set and a heavier, slightly more guitar oriented demeanor. In the particular case of "Fallen From Grace", things shift into full out speed/power mode a la 80s Helloween/Gamma Ray with a triumphant chorus to boot. And even when things shift into more of an epic approach with some obvious Iron Maiden trappings as on "Nosferatu", "On The Battlefield" and a few others, things remain fairly streamlined and song oriented rather than overtly progressive.
If the time since this album's creation has proven anything, it is that what made Tad Morose a truly unique brand picked up and left a couple years before Bloodbound came into being. While Urban Breed's versatile and expressive voice alone does not make Nosferatu a hard-hitting new classic, it is definitely a necessary element that is further complemented by the technical prowess of guitarist Tomas Olsson and the likewise strong input from the rest of the band. This rivals both Firewind and Hammerfall at their respective best, buries much of its competition insofar as the less than stellar showing of power metal in 2006 is concerned, and ushers in what is largely a very consistent period of output by this band, though Breed's input would prove to be limited. It's more power metal than heavy metal, but it's definitely something that both 80s purists and post-Helloween youngsters can sink their teeth into.
Sweden was not heavy metal force in the early development of heavy metal music - 70's, nor in 80's when many sub-genres/styles were developed. Yngwie Malmsteen developed one sub-genre of heavy metal music in 80's - neoclassical metal, but besides Yngwie, nothing significant has happened there. There were bands here and there like Candlemass etc., but in 90's things changed for better. Bands which pioneered and developed melodic death metal were from Sweden, and they were more successful than classic heavy metal and power metal bands thanks to use of growls. At that time heavy metal music started to rust, but then Swedish metalheads saved the whole genre - HammerFall, the band which brought heavy metal music back from the dead. New bands soon appeared: Wolf, Sabaton, Dream Evil, and then came Bloodbound. Swedes didn't just make heavy metal resurrection, but they set very high standards for quality of heavy metal music. If band is not as awesome as Swedish bands, I don't give a shit about it. Call me a fanboy, I don't care. Bloodbound is one of few power metal bands which was obviously influenced by melodic heavy metal bands like Helloween and Iron Maiden, and despite some similarities they are not copycats. There are lots of songs that will instantly grab any serious listener, but here is one which actually made me interested in this band, and that one is Nosferatu.
I still remember the very first time I heard that masterpiece. Rain, thunder, bells tolling, clean guitar intro which sounds so fucking beautiful, then vocals come, and suddenly from slow, epic part, song turns into monstrous, powerful, passionate and massive fast song. Drum bass work is amazing there, and that is just one of the important details which build this amazing song. Then I started with listening to the whole album. I was amazed with riffs, eerie lyrics, amazing vocals, lead guitars, drum work, incredible sing-along refrains, amazing, tasty, memorable guitar solos with lots of technical work. Into The Dark, Crucified, Fallen From Grace and Midnight Sun are examples of those awesome songs, made with that magic formula. However, not all of these songs are memorable after the very first listen, but after few serious and fair listens these songs show their true value. Less memorable doesn't mean bad, and they prove that. Hopefully, there are enough bombastic songs which show what's this band made of, and Metal Monster is one of them. It is anthem-like, mind-blowing song with its classic 80's classic heavy metal feel. Desdemonamelia is the most weird song from this album, manly because of progressive metal structure. It starts with really fast intro part, done much different that other fast songs from this album. The source of that song's power are ground-shaking drums, and nicely placed riffs, with addition of powerful vocals. It's the only song where keyboards jump in.
They served good purpose in the beginning and ending of the song. Midnight Sun is the only song to have keyboards which help to make even better neoclassical metal solo along with guitars. Olsson brothers never stop to amaze with insanely technical solos, using arpeggios, sweeps and shredding. It sounds so great when they play it, 'cause they know how to use techniques well with lots of emotion. Also, their solos sound very original, not like some neoclassical metal rip-offs from Malmsteen, Batio, or any other over-rated, famous, soulless shredder. On The Battlefield has the similar structure like Nosferatu. This song has clean guitars in the beginning too, but without thunder and rain. Instead of bell, Pelle used cymbal beats, and yes, again starts killer fast part, with amazing lead guitars, incredible drum galloping, incredible guitar solo. Urban Breed shows his inhuman vocal abilities in each song, but in the song For The King it's something completely different. That is the ultimate example of his sky-high, soaring vocals with huge amount of power. He has absolutely amazing vocal range, and control of his voice. He is not the only great band member. Pelle Åkerlind did bloody amazing job with his drums, Tomas and Henrik Olsson made incredible lead guitars, riffs, and solos of course. Johan Sohlberg has some notable bass lines, but that won't impress anyone, specially when other band members contributed more to the creation of this masterpiece.
Good sides of this release:
This band is really blessed with this amazing line-up, or at least they were. Many band members from this line-up are out, but the band continued well without them. This album has amazing mix of riffs, power chords, lead guitars and solos, amazing vocals and incredible drum work. Lyrics are dark-theme oriented, I don't know should you take them seriously or not, but this stuff is amazing. This album doesn't have any ballad, that doesn't mean it's good nor bad. I don't think that band is "more heavy metal than others" if they don't have ballads, but I don't think they need one here, 'cause this album is the best way to find out what power metal really is.
Bad sides of this release:
Narrow-minded listeners see this band as Helloween and Iron Maiden clone, but that doesn't make any sense, since this band is more intense, powerful, heavier and not vapid like them. Question of originality is not a big deal for me, specially because every band on this planet has its influences, and those influences are very often notable. Anyway, I would rather enjoy least original band, but with excellent songs, than very unique, but mediocre one. I am only satisfied with the final product, songs which band has to offer. It's better for a band if they are more unique than others, but that's not equal to quality of material they release.
When I heard that Urban Breed left Tad Morose, I was very upset... I wondered how he was going to top their last several albums, which had all been fantastic.
I remember hearing "Behind the Moon" for the first time and being absolutely blown away. I haven't been that blown out of the water by something in a long time. The melodies, the power, it was too much. Bloodbound has managed to marry mindblowing composition of guitar harmonies with memorable songwriting and powerful and melodic vocals in a way that is very much the same, but somehow stands out in a big way. They're not breaking the bank on creativity, but somehow they just manage to nail the concept better than anyone else doing it these days.
The only problem with this album I've found is that it tends to be a little too much of the same thing. Only a small number of songs deviate from the formula laid out by the first track or two... that's the only thing keeping this album from a 100% .
I personally don't think you can like tradtional metal and not dig this album. Definately pick this up if you get a chance!
At the time Urban Breed announced his departure from Tad Morose, I was kind of bummed. Urban was the best thing that happened to Tad Morose, his powerhouse vocals made 'Undead' and 'Modus Vivendi' a strong pleasure to listen to, lifting the music of Tad Morose, which was quite good already, to a much higher level. When I'm writing this review, Joe Comeau has replaced Urban in Tad Morose and Urban himself has already left his new band Bloodbound again. I can't be too sad about that, Urban was as a singer much better than the mediocre band Bloodbound was deserving.
My first introduction to Bloodbound was through the title track of their debut album 'Nosferatu'. That song is a really good one, it hit me right away. After a desperate clean intro with just the right vocals by Urban, the song turns into an epic that wouldn't look bad on the resumé of Iron Maiden. The melody lines, the gallopping rhythms, the struture, the climax...all elements are kindly borrowed from Iron Maiden, but they are decorated with vocals that are even better than Bruce Dickinson's. A killer tune from a band with potential. Or at least that was what I thought.
There are two big problems with this album. First of all: once you have heard the title track, the rest of the album is a big letdown. 'Nosferatu' isn't the best song of a good band, 'Nosferatu' is a rare peak on a mediocre album. Which brings me to the second problem: the majority of the album sounds exactly the same: the gallopping rhythms, the solos, which are almost all harmonized, the same tempo almost all throughout the album, the annoying choirs in the way too happy choruses...I don't have a problem with songs sounding happy, if they actually are. An adequate example of this is 'Crucified', which has an incredibly happy chorus, which doesn't fit to the lyrics at all! In addition, guitarist Tomas Olsson seems to like to show off a lot. This is a problem more guitarists suffer from, but Olsson seems to do the same thing over and over.
There are a few lights in the dark. Opening track 'Behind The Moon' is actually quite good, it shows what makes Power Metal actually a good genre, in contrary to much of the rest of the album, which shows why it is understandable that many people despise the genre. 'Behind The Moon' builds up quite nicely and actually has a nice chorus. Coincidentally enough, this is one of the few songs played in a minor key. 'Desdemonamelia' (what the hell does that mean?) adds some variation to the album, because its tempo is lower and there is some more interesting stuff involved rhythm-wise. The chorus is a terrible one, but the rest of the track is quite good actually.
'Screams In The Night' isn't bad at all either. When it comes to building up, it has much in common with 'Behind The Moon' and the bass intro with Urban's low vocals sounds really good. In addition, the song has an above average chorus. The vocal lines to closing track 'On The Battlefield' are stellar and the guitar work is decent, but I kind of have the feeling the band has been trying to copy 'Nosferatu' with this one. However, it's one of the better songs of the album.
The worst tracks for me are probably 'Fallen From Grace' and 'Crucified'. Complete throw-away tracks that make the album unbearable. Another lowpoint for the album: its lyrics. I know that Power Metal bands aren't known for their poetic highlights, but I guess my expectations were just too high for an album with Urban Breed on it...
And by the way...what's up with the painted faces? It looks ridiculous on Black Metal bands, it looked ridiculous on Kiss...wait a second...now that I mentioned Kiss...might the painted faces be a way of covering up that the music really isn't all that good?
'Nosferatu' isn't the worst album in the world. In fact, it's not all that bad: the musicianship is tight, the vocals are of course beyond amazing and the band is capable of making some great songs. A band that wasn't wouldn't have been able to write and play the song 'Nosferatu', but the album is boring, seems to work with variations of just one riff and one lead and most of the choruses annoy the hell out of me. Urban...good luck with your solo record, I just know it'll be much better than this!