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A Classy Mix Of Technical Death And Prog Metal! - 80%

Chris Jennings, May 15th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2018, Digital, Hostile Media

From the sounds of it, Bloodshot Dawn’s third album may as well be considered a full reboot as following their last effort, Demons, founder member Josh McMorran promptly found himself standing centre-stage, all alone in an almost Jeff Water’s style – admittedly with less ridiculous lyrics! Which brings us neatly onto the main thrust of the subject matter found on Reanimation; it’s sci-fi Jim, but not as we know it.

From their future-dystopian cover art to song names like “Graviton Nightmare” and “Battle for the Omniverse”, everything about this product screams ‘futuristic’. When the opening strains of “Seared Earth” kick in, that feeling is only shored up. The production (if you like it dry, scooped and of crystalline transparence) is utterly astounding. Not kidding. It’s so crisp, punchy and epic that for all Bloodshot Dawn’s extreme metal underpinnings they sound more like epic mood-music than a heavy metal band.

Overall, Reanimation is a classy mix of technical death and prog metal. Sure there are blasts, frantic tremolo picking and growls aplenty but for just as much of the run time it’s all about Vai-esque lydian melodies (“Survival Evolved”), keyboard backed atmospheric sweeps (“Seared Earth”, “Shackled”) and outrageous bursts of guitar geekery (the truly world-class legato playing on “DNA Reacquisition”). Don’t let these words delude you into thinking it’s not heavy though – it is – as you’ll discover on more traditionally melodic death metal cuts such as “Controlled Conscious”.

You might expect an album where hyper-tricky guitar playing is so much to the fore to not give a flying damn about vocals, but that ain’t the case. They don’t feel like an afterthought in the slightest and the disciplined mix of growl and shriek (surely now a must-have in progressive death?) are deployed in catchy fashion. What’s more, you can make out the lyrics on much of it. Bonus!

The songwriting craft on Reanimation is hearteningly strong and this is already in the running for one of our top 10 death metal albums of 2018. Sure, we could do with a few less sweep-picking flip-outs – we’ve all got a cock, lads, some of us just choose to limit how much we wave it about – but the technicality, the style and the ability to write quality songs using the best ingredients in the death metal store cupboard makes Reanimation a joy to behold!

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