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Bloodshot Dawn - "Demons" (CD)

Bloodshot Dawn - "Demons" CD cover image

"Demons" track listing:

1. Smoke and Mirrors
2. Consequence Complex
3. Unified
4. Inadequacy
5. Black Hole Infinity
6. Human Void
7. The Image Faded
8. Demons

Reviewed by on October 15, 2014

"Only the U.K. band's sophomore full-length, 'Demons' gets a whole lot of things right and easily blows way quite a few of the established bands in the genre. The fact that there's not a label backing this release is insane..."

The wait is over: the standout melodic death metal album of 2014 has arrived, with only three months left to go! Only the U.K. band's sophomore full-length, “Demons,” gets a whole lot of things right and easily blows way quite a few of the established bands in the genre. The fact that there's not a label backing this release is insane (or perhaps a sad statement about the usefulness of labels for metal bands these days and the state of the music industry in general), as the album was fan-funded via Kickstarter.

“Demons” is constantly energetic on the instrument front, and there's an interesting mix of sounds as the guitar tone frequently isn't as dark as you'd expect for an extreme metal album. The pervasive guitar shredding and frequent soloing gives a feel of a revitalized Children Of Bodom, and in places there is a definite Scar Symmetry sound (minus the clean vocals), especially on the closing title track. Besides the core melo-death style, plenty of the tracks on “Demons” dip more towards the technical side, and there's a not-insignificant influence from the thrash and groove end of the spectrum, making a very “modern metal” sound that's well-rounded and has an excellent balance between melodic and brutal.

A versatile release, there isn't one specific track that stands out strongly above the rest, and instead Bloodshot Dawn gives an all-around solid offering from beginning to end with some awe-inspiring guitar riffage. Take the melodic guitar solo halfway through “Image Faded” for instance, which then becomes the main guitar lick for the next solid three minutes with no vocal intrusions. What you've got here is essentially some top-notch instrumental metal, and if you dig music like Blotted Science but wish it was more on the melodic end, this is the track for you.

While the instrumentation is stellar, the vocals are perhaps the only down side on the album. Now to be clear, they aren't bad by any means, they just don't hit the same level as the top-notch instrumentation. The delivery is suitably harsh (and there's a clear energy and fury behind the growls), there's just nothing really distinguishing to them, creating a sort of generic feel that never really varies in intensity or pitch. A bit more variation or experimentation on the vocal end could have shot this album through the stratosphere.

Musically, this album crushes on all fronts, although vocally it falls a bit flat (on the other hand, if you dig the vocal style this may be “album of the year” material for you). If you dig any of the melodic death metal giants (Arch Enemy, Children of Bodom, Scar Symmetry) be sure to pick this up post-haste.

Highs: Fantastic mix of melodic and technical death metal with some strong thrash/groove influences.

Lows: Although not outright bad, the vocals come off a bit generic and have a "been there, done that" feel.

Bottom line: Easily a contender for the melodic death metal album of the year, 'Demons' is a versatile release with amazing shredding.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)