Genre: Death Metal
Label: Peaceville Records
Strangely enough, Bloodbath were one of the very first death metal bands I ever listened, and not any of the classic bands who came before them, as that happened way later. For this reason, the albums “Nightmares Made Flesh” from 2004 and 2008’s “The Fathomless Mastery” are regularly in the playlists, featuring the band’s groovy, catchy and rather clear style and technique. Many big names of the scene have gone through this supergroup, which currently features Katatonia & Craft members, as well as, of course, Nick Holmes from Paradise Lost at the vocals.
He poses aiming a crossbow at the camera, when the name of the new album is called “The Arrow of Satan Is Drawn”, a record that has significantly improved artwork compared to the goofy art of “Grand Morbid Funeral” from 2014. With the new record, there will not be one Bloodbath fan off their feet with the approach of the band’s new tracks, which still endorses the combo of chainsaw production / classic riffology / Nick Holmes growls.
The last element can be a sole factor for many to get into the record (don’t forget there’s Vallenfyre out there as well though), which does offer great moments in a fairly undulating total result, without the band nailing it completely in terms of compositional quality, this time. References to other genres are as plain as can be, in the thrashy introduction of “Deader”, the totally hardcore structured breakdown pattern in “Bloodicide”, some melodeath lines in “Morbid Antichrist”, while the opening track “Fleischmann” is a pure Bloodbath banger.
Such thick and loud production will single-handedly convince death metal fans who don’t ask for much from the genre, making it unnecessary for the band to even try for something higher. As there are good tracks, the slow parts in several times bring the flow to an unneeded halt, while a couple of the compositions are just below average (dull are “Levitator” and “March of the Crucifiers”). “Wayward Samaritan” for example, is based on one average riff and its latter part towards the end is not more than filler material of the same idea played more slowly.
I slightly liked the lyrics in “Grand Morbid Funeral” more, but the same level of language is used in “The Arrow of Satan is Drawn” as well, even though one would not care as much as one would in the band’s older records and much more entertaining tracks. This album has a few good moments, a few unoriginal moments, and is indifferent compared not only to the band’s material, but to death metal as well. However, there is always stuff to enjoy in a Bloodbath record.