Review Summary: Bloodbound blazes new ground with a superb effort.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
The new Bloodbound album is puzzling, since none of their three albums bear much of a similarity. "Nosferatu" was a lush piece of traditional power metal worship, with Urban Breed delivering the songs in his smooth yet powerful voice. "Book of the Dead" was a slightly more rock oriented album, with Michael Bormann's ragged voice taking the sound in a different direction. With Urban back in the band, any thoughts that they would return to the sound of "Nosferatu" are put to rest in the first few seconds of the album.
"Sweet Dreams of Madness" kicks off with an angular riff, and for the rest of the ten tracks, we are given a new Bloodbound to consider. If "Nosferatu" was their traditional power metal album, and "Book of the Dead" was their more modern power metal album, "Tabula Rasa" is something that defies labels. The guitars cut through the mix with a more biting tone, playing chunky riffs more concerned with heaviness than melody. The galloping that carried much of the first two records is all but gone, replaced with playing that resembles the new wave of melodic death metal.
But anything the guitars may do to change the sound has done nothing to Urban or his melodies. He elevates the songs, giving the band the power that they were lacking in his absence. His vocals are still tremendous, but lack some of the clarity of his previous outings both with Bloodbound as well as Tad Morose.
Songs like "Sweet Dreams of Madness" and "Dominion 5" ride on hooks as good as anything the band has put out before, and "Plague Doctor" is a slight change of pace that dials back the aggression for a stirring chorus, but the majority of the album is content to flex its muscle rather than weave twin-guitar melodies as they had done before.
"Tabula Rasa" is a different beast that its predecessors, but it still retains enough of the band's core to be Bloodbound. The shift towards aggression over melody is interesting, and if the band loosens up the songs a bit next time, they could very well be on their way to finding a sound that they can ride for years to come.