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"Bloedrivier" is a very strange album, mixing many different styles and musical directions, not unlike Hypocrisy's "Abducted" album. I didn't listen to the band's demos, which -as long as I know- were in hardcore vein. In this album the band represents their hardcore roots but at the same time, moves into a more metal direction.
The album can be divided into two parts. The songs 1-7 represent the main part of this album and they have the same direction, some kind of mixture of melodic heavy metal, doom metal and death/thrash metal. The rest of the songs are more rooted in Hardcore and altogether they have a quite different sound.
The first part of the album starts with the instrumental title track which serves as an intro to the album. After a doomy guitar interlude, the drums and bass join and the thing turns into a thrashy instrumental. "Doom" is also in this vein, with tons of catchy guitar melodies which add quite an emotional atmosphere to the music. The vocals are quite harsh, not the typical death grunts. One important thing to note here is the use of bass guitar. Imagine Steve Harris playing bass for a thrash or death metal band, in his Piece Of Mind and The Number Of The Beast way. This is some excellent playing and adds a lot to the power of their sound. Next in line we have the speed metal monster "A Beast Is Born" which also gives way to a doomy breakdown part. "Religion" is a strange "heavy metal meets doom metal" type of ballad which is amazingly emotional and melancholic. The highlight of the first part though, is "If I Had A Soul Part 3". This is the doomiest song of the album, with a slow tempo, very simple but effective melodies and again a killer use of bass guitar. Absolutely amazing.
The next part has 3 "real" songs. "J.M.S.P." sounds like old Napalm Death. "Goodbye" is some melodic hardcore. Both of these songs sound like they were recorded in a different studio in a different time and compared to the rest of the album they are a bit weak. The album closer "Needledive" though, is a very melodic & catchy tune which ties the things to the first part of the album.
There's also 2 hidden live tracks at the end of the CD. They are both your basic death/core tunes, with a poor sound, so nothing to write home about there.
Overall, "Bloedrivier" is a unique, highly enjoyable and overall catchy album which most of the time delves into the melancholic side of emotions. Highly recommended if you like Iron Maiden, My Dying Bride and Suicidal Tendencies equally.