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Dorkness Descends - 45%

Xyrth, April 5th, 2013

Bloodbound’s been around for less than a decade, and started their career with an album with the exact same title as Helstar’s masterpiece from 1989. They have song titles like “Black Shadow”, “Night Touches You”, “Together We Fight” and “Bonded by Blood”, that last one right here on this very album, their fifth so far. So yeah, that this isn’t the most innovative metal band on the face of the Earth is not up for discussion. I had just listened to a handful of songs from their past records prior to experiencing this awfully titled In the Name of Metal, and I never thought they were something special. They’re content in playing and composing the music they love: classic heavy metal and euro power metal, and that’s no crime. What might raise some eyebrows is the fact that they’re trying to rob Manowar of their title of “Cheesiest metal band ever”. And I reckon they might succeed if they carry on like this.

In the case of the self-appointed Kings of Metal, even though serious flops such as Gods of War or the uninspiring The Lord of Steel exist, at least they have their amazing back catalogue of classic albums (filled with silly lyrics, yes, we know that) as an undisputable statement of their considerable influence on the metal world. For what I’ve listened to, Bloodbound’s past material is not impressive or significant by any means. They’ve been consistent, but what good is consistency when your musical output is mediocre at best? And to add insult to injury, their lyrical endeavors are just as bad. Actually, lyrics provide a nice laugh the first couple of times you reed and listen to them, but they shouldn’t be taken very seriously, even though the band might think otherwise:

“Metalheads unite,
C'mon join the fight
Metalheads unite,
We bring them down
Metalheads unite,
March into the night
Metalheads unite,
M. E. T. A. L. for metal”

There’re dozens of examples of metallic clichés like that one in this album. It wouldn’t be so bad if the music was compelling or amusing in any way, but sadly that’s not the case, and while sonically there’s nothing overtly insulting here, none of this record’s tunes managed to leave a good impression on me. The band can play their instruments with more than sufficient proficiency; problem’s the total absence of imagination and ambition. The singer might be the least worse of em’ all. He has a very 80’s metal style, like a grittier, tougher version of Bon Jovi, though a couple of times he shows he can almost reach Halford-like highs. Though definitely not a guy that stands out from the cluster of similar frontmen out there, he honestly doesn’t suck, he just needs to sing different lines. The guitars come second place in quality as they sound clear, modern, punchy enough… but the riffs, solos and melodies are mostly commonplace and unimaginative. The bass and drums are just there, and that’s all I can really write about them. The production fits the music style, almost comparably in quality to Helloween’s 21st Century output, maybe a bit dryer.

As for the influences at play, I perceive a great deal of Teutonic heavy/power such as Accept, Rage, some Edguy, as well as the similar though overtly better approach of fellow countrymen HammerFall and Sabaton. A little Bon Jovi too, no kidding! And on “King of Fallen Grace”, one of the least bad songs, they even channel Stratovarius. In other words, Bloodbound sounds like a bad pastiche of bands that were influenced by others that came before them but added their own signatures. This Swedish sextet forgot to do the last part. You’ve heard these tunes zillions of times, decades old in some cases, better composed. The variety on the album doesn’t save it from stagnation, as we have the anthemic hard rockers such as the title-track, “Metalheads Unite” or “Son of Babylon” as well as the speedier, power metal numbers such as “Bonebreaker” or “When Demons Collide”, which I feel are marginally better. And oh, they re-recorded their song “Book of the Dead” as the Japanese bonus, but I’m guessing it doesn’t sounds that different from its first incarnation.

The final nail to the coffin is their Nosferatu mascot on the album cover, displayed in totally ludicrous fashion, perfectly matching the musical contents within, a complete lack of taste. Was this album meant to be taken seriously? I keep asking that to myself. Truth is I don’t hear real effort here, like on the last couple of Holy Grail’s albums. I don’t here any distinctive elements like in Lonewolf or in 3 Inches of Blood, nor the level of superb riffing of a Pharaoh or an Enforcer. Maybe Bloodbound has better records but I’m afraid this is utter suckage, and while I don’t like giving any album a below 50 rating, my list of bands to recommend before this one has Biblical proportions, and I'm thinking in hundreds of other metal albums vastly better than this one.