After listening to BLOODY SIGN’s second full-length effort I felt like going off ranting on and on about the mundane nature of their brand of Death/Thrash Metal but I had an inkling feeling that perhaps there’s a bit more to it than just the requisite growling and blasting. So, like a good little trooper, I went off and invested more time into in, and it paid off. Only marginally so, but still…
When I saw that this French band is signed to John McEntee’s Ibex Moon label it got my hopes up, as the man certainly seems to know his Death Metal. Well, I wasn’t disappointed by “Explosion Of Elements”, but I wasn’t really blown away either. Combining influences of old school Death Metal (MORBID ANGEL, INCANTATION) with some effective Thrash and Black Metal touches, BLOODY SIGN certainly know how to pen a furious track or two, but they didn’t manage to keep things interesting all the way through. The album is chock full of heavy riffs and decent tempo changes, so anyone into the aforementioned bands will find much to enjoy here, but I just can’t help but feel like it could’ve been so much more. The second half of the album is the strongest, as it is here where they mix things up a little and at time the results are devastating. Case and point: “Apocalyptic Warriors”. This nifty little track is the creative high point of the album – it starts off pretty straightforward with slightly groovy Death-meets-Crossover type riffs before pulling a 360 on the listener by turning all-out Power Metal near the end! The solos segue into a mighty chant-happy section that will put a grin on any GAMMA RAY or HELLOWEEN fan! Hearing a Death Metal track turn into such an anthemic Power Metal tour de force is quite spectacular in itself. Brutal Power Metal anyone?
Tracks like “Wind Of Vengeance” and “Iron Genesis” showcase a more groovy approach and even some melodic Black Metal sensibilities, and this saves the album from being a complete one-trick pony. It’s just a shame that the first half of the album is so unimaginative. But overall every note is super tight and the crisp production doesn’t hurt either. If you like the technical and at times slightly off-kilter Death Metal of bands like DECAPITATED, INCANTATION and LOST SOUL, then you’ll love this album.
It will take a couple of listens to reveal its true nature but overall this is a solid album. I just wish they didn’t stick to the Deathrash template so rigidly, because when they allow themselves to experiment a little it shows significant potential. Trust me, if the whole album was filled with tracks like “Apocalyptic Warriors” and “Iron Genesis” then this would send my CD player on a 1 CD diet for weeks! Right now this will only warrant the occasional listen. But even so this will make for an enjoyable 45 minute listen.
(Online June 8, 2007)