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Only for fans of the band - 60%

KFD, February 24th, 2013

Bloodsworn is a compilation which celebrated Der Stürmer's 10-year anniversary in 2008. It features 14 songs, mostly bonus tracks from former releases, songs from split EPs and covers. The progression of the compilation is chronological : the first tracks are the earliest, and the last ones are the most recent.

The CD includes a heavy 12-page booklet with lyrics and artworks from the original releases, something much appreciated in comparison to the countless CD albums which only feature a black and white band picture without any lyrics or credits. The date, line-up and original appearance of every song is also detailed.

Now let's get to the music. Bloodsworn adequately represents the evolution of the band, from the early RAC / black metal mixture with a drum machine, to the latter, rougher and more traditional form of the trio. Don't expect any cohesion between songs here : it's a compilation. Thus, the production and material quality greatly vary between tracks. I personally tend to prefer the later tracks of Der Stürmer, because the Hellenic band has gained maturity, as well as the services of session drummers. Some riffs are really good, agressive and hateful, they remind me a simpler version of early Deathspell Omega. Without being impressive, the vocals are quite efficient, placed in a good manner in order to stay in the listener's mind. Most songs sound like demos, where any bass line can hardly be heard, but the compositions are good enough.

As I said, the production is not top notch. Besides, some songs are black metal hits ("Mors Triumphalis", "They've got attacked by the werewolves"), whereas other ones are not even decent B-sides. For example, the first track (supposedly a nationalist anthem) didn't convince me at all with its poor RAC / metal mixture - to be honest, I disliked most of the first album's songs. I found the Absurd cover forgettable too. Oh, and the gimmick of sampling John Lennon's "Imagine" followed by a gunshot is a bit ridiculous in my humble opinion.

The lyrics may read a bit cliché, repetitive and obsessive, but there is one element which cannot be denied to Der Stürmer : sincerity. The guys are not singing about an imaginative occult demon invocation ritual or about winter landscapes or about dedication to Satan and the rhetorical concept of Evil ; they sing about their ideas and their daily struggle. Of course I am not going to praise them only because I share their ideas, but the fact is their music is really in keeping with their worldview : ruthless, raw, martial and direct. The only introductions are made of movie samples, which has been the band's distinctive mark since the beginning.

Der Stürmer has never been a perfect band with perfect works, but they created their own identity and they stayed true to their ideological goals. Their musical evolution has nothing to do with any orthodox or post-rock trend. And guess what, they are still active in 2013, 5 years after the release of Bloodsworn.

As a conclusion, I would only recommend this compilation to fans of the band who own most of their discography, except the vinyl EPs and splits. The other ones should listen at first to the second and third album, respectively A Banner Greater Than Death and Transcendental Racial Idealism. The best songs from Bloodsworn are similar to the content of A Banner Greater Than Death in terms of musicianship.