Bleeding Fist - Death's Old Stench: The Deathcult Sessions - (8/10)
Published on February 19, 2014
Bleeding Fist has been belting out fairly standard black metal since their formation in 2004. Most of the band’s output in the last ten years has been blasting, trem infused black metal with no frills, barring the occasional blackened thrash soirée. While their music has been generally middle-of-the road, they utilize frequent dirges into darkened atmospherics and just downright spookiness. The past ten years have shown Bleeding Fist hinting at these darkened waters but never really taking the full plunge. These Slovenians just seemed content to plod along, despite the constant hints that something better could be just over the horizon.
Enter Death’s Old Stench: The Deathcult Sessions, a compilation that was released during the band’s tenth year of existence. The twelve tracks presented here were recorded between 2011 and 2013 and according to vocalist, Hellscream, these tracks represent one of the darkest times in the band’s life, as they had just lost their two guitarists. Moribund Records states that Death’s Old Stench is a collection of tracks that shows a different side to Bleeding Fist, one that is less chaotic and frenzied and instead more influenced by classic black metal. Moribund Records hit the nail on the head there, as Death’s Old Stench has a controlled, diabolical approach rather than just unrelenting blasting. The result is a dark piece of black metal that feels more like a combination of Norwegian second wave black metal and the melodic Swedish black metal scene than anything else Bleeding Fist has released to date.
The band still utilizes trem picking out the ass, but it’s displayed with an underlying sense of melody that acts like Dissection and Sacramentum so memorable. It’s actually quite odd to hear, Bleeding Fist using melody in their music. If you would have asked me about Bleeding Fist playing melodies when I first heard the band’s debut album, Bestial Kruzix666ion, I would have laughed my frickin’ face off. Like I said before, the band always hinted at some form of darker atmospherics, but they never really hinted at anything melodic. That darker sound is flushed out during songs like “The Veiled Crowned Queen”, as a muddy introduction with chanted vocals kicks off track with tons of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas influence before slowing down into a dark and plodding spiral towards the end. The band’s sound on Death’s Old Stench really weaves between the two scenes of early black metal, with tracks like “Holy Saint of Death” sounding like Transilvanian Hunger era Darkthrone and “Cursed Blood” sounding like The Somberlain era Dissection. That doesn’t mean they’ve completely abandoned their sound of yore, as “Azazel” hits a thrashing galloping rhythm in the middle, but rather than being backed by constant blast beats, it’s a rather tempered standard thrash beat. “Death Almighty Death” shows a little of the blasting drumming, but it’s used as emphasis instead of for the entirety of the album.
This is a collection demo tracks, so the sound quality is muddy and grim, but it works in the band’s favor. The mud gives an underworldly feel to the music, an almost archaic feel to it. I can’t imagine tracks like this with a clean production, as they would lose most of their appeal. Although these are only demo tracks, I feel that this is Bleeding Fist’s best work to date. They finally embraced their darker tendencies and tempered their willingness to willy-nilly blast their way through an album. This isn’t an overly original piece of black metal, but it’s dark and caustic. Bleeding Fist also recently announced an upcoming full length through Moribund Records, so here’s to hoping they continue down the path of these tracks.