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Bloodbath - "Unblessing The Purity" (CD)

Bloodbath - "Unblessing The Purity" CD cover image

"Unblessing The Purity" track listing:

1. Blasting the Virginborn (3:32)
2. Weak Aside (4:14)
3. Sick Salvation (3:21)
4. Mouth of Empty Praise (4:31)

Reviewed by on July 10, 2008

"'Unblessing the Purity' doesn’t waste any time getting right into the heart of the brutal sound they are going after."

Originally composed of members of Opeth and Katatonia, along with underground metal icon Dan Swano, Bloodbath was conceived as a throwback to traditional extreme death metal that lacked the more progressive and melodic elements of the various members primary bands. Bloodbath has seen several line-up changes, mostly due to the side project nature of the band, with Swano switching from guitar to drum duty and then leaving the group entirely. Vocalist and founder Mikael Akerfeldt was also briefly replaced for the second full length album by another huge name in the European metal scene, Peter Tagtgren of Hypocrisy. Akerfeldt has returned to reclaim his position for this EP release as well as the upcoming full length album that is currently being recorded.

At only four tracks long with a runtime of just over 15 minutes “Unblessing the Purity” doesn’t waste any time getting right into the heart of the brutal sound they are going after. After an incredibly short sound effect intro, the guitars and drums are unleashed to pulverize anything in their path, and Akerfeldt belts out a deep and guttural death grunt much different from the more melodic growling he uses in his main band. Anders Nystrom of Katatonia and Per “Sodomizer” Eriksson trade off guitar shredding duties throughout the album, but they provide a surprisingly restrained performance on opening track “Blasting the Virginborn.” With a few brief exceptions, they keep their strings mid-paced through the whole song to serve as a contrast to the drums and vocals, allowing Martin Axenrot to lead the pack and drive the music with his wild and uninhibited drumming.

Any semblance of restraint from the opening track is ripped to gore stained pieces in the rest of the album. Although the second song, “Weak Aside,” starts out quietly, it quickly escalates into a destructive onslaught rife with plenty of guitar acrobatics and blast beats galore. There are several instances throughout the album when sound effects and voice clips are interjected. All such uses of sound effects or breakdowns are short and to the point, and then the band immediately blasts back into the relentless unholy crusade that preceded it. While these devices may not be found readily in the traditional style of death metal that Bloodbath attempts to imitate, it does prevent the songs from ever becoming dull or tedious.

As would be expected from a death metal band with a name like Bloodbath and featuring cover art depicting an animal headed figure in a black robe baptizing a child in blood, the lyrics are openly profane and don’t even bother with things like subtlety or nuance. There is some use of the traditional gore and violence oriented lyrics, but those aspects are pushed to the back in favor of deriding religion and calling upon the antichrist to rise up and seize the world as a horrific reverse savior. Keeping with the religious theme, the closing track, “Mouth of Empty Praise,” ends suddenly with a low chanting in the background that fades into nothingness.

Although “Unblessing the Purity” is lamentably short and doesn’t break any new lyrical ground, it does easily overcome the repetition and monotone vocals that plague countless other death metal bands. If the members of Bloodbath can keep the same momentum going for their next full length album release they will quickly find themselves sitting atop the blood soaked throne of the genre.

Highs: Brutal, unrelenting, and it keeps your attention for the entire runtime

Lows: Lack of subtelty in the lyrics and it's good enough that only have four tracks will leave you wanting more when it ends

Bottom line: Excellent death metal that isn't repetitive or boring

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)