Review Summary: The chain and the saw shall be the law
I always saw Bloodbath as a tribute to death metal. The willingness of a group of musicians to have fun, outside the more serious scope of their respective primary bands. Over the years, several well-known personalities, such as Dan Swanö, Peter Tägtgren or Opeth's mastermind Mikael Åkerfeld, have left their signature, helping to establish Bloodbath as, undeniably, the best-known supergroup of the genre.
After prolonged hiatus, when many thought the chainsaw project was dead and buried, in 2014, the band announced Paradise Lost's frontman Nick Holmes as the next singer, and Grand Morbid Funeral
was born from the grave. Upon its release, the album received a generally mixed reception from fans and critics. Some thought Old Nick's raw vocals brought something new and genuine, while others saw it as the weakest link. I've been on both sides of the barricade. If I initially missed Mikael's bold gutturals, after repeated listening, I became more and more used to Old Nick's rawest approach, to the point of truly beginning to enjoy it. Nowadays, when I think of Bloodbath, it's Nick who comes to mind, not Mikael. So, it was with great expectation that I waited for the band's new album.
It doesn't take an Einstein to figure out what awaits us in The Arrow of Satan Is Drawn
. A bloody old-school chainsaw, ready to dismember the listener, limb by limb. A killing that began in 1990, with Left Hand Path, and left a legacy of bloodthirsty followers who are keen to show the world that the chainsaw lives. The album couldn't have got off to a better start. With an unexpected Desolate Shrine-esque vibe, "Fleischmann" is a relentless display of power that incessantly scratches the listener's head, until it reaches the brain. The opener is my favorite song on the album and, in my opinion, one of the best tracks this band has ever released. The Arrow of Satan Is Drawn
continues its killing with "Bloodicide", which presents a demolishing verse and probably the most catchy chorus of the album, and "Wayward Samaritan", that brings some death&roll to the party. Now it's time to calm things down a bit, and wipe the blood drops off your face, with "Levitator", the slowest song on the album. But this false calm won't last long, since "Deader" and the following songs will start the chainsaw again to the limit, leaving a significant trail of bodies behind. "Warhead Ritual" and "Chainsaw Lullaby" are my personal highlights from the second half of the album, in which I'd like to highlight a message from the ender, that synthesizes the band and album perfectly:
"The chain and the saw shall be the law"
Deep, isn't it？
The Arrow of Satan Is Drawn
is the bloody sequel to Grand Morbid Funeral
. If I had to point some difference to its predecessor, it would be a greater use of blast beat and "Fleischmann's" refreshing approach. Anyone who was somewhat disappointed with Grand Morbid Funeral
will certainly not change their mind, but people like me, who enjoyed the 2014 killing, will welcome The Arrow of Satan Is Drawn
with open arms and a chainsaw in hand. Because sometimes music doesn't have to be complex or mirror a deep meaning, it just has to bring some fun, and Old Nick & the chainsaw congregation remind us all that death metal can be just that, unpretentious and fun.
...and bloody, obviously.