This band’s bubble had to burst at some point, this much was clear to me from the off. Not to sound like a naysayer, but the charm (not to mention purpose) of a band whose entire existence is predicated upon DISMEMBER-worship can only last so long, regardless of the number of high-profile members involved. You can only flog a horse for so long and, realizing this, these Swedes have wisely opted to “broaden” their sound a bit by upping the technicality level and varying the pace a bit more. This might have lessened the novelty factor surrounding this band a bit, but if you are willing to accept BLOODBATH 2K8 as an entity that’s more than mere Sunlight-regurgitation then you will undoubtedly dig this brisk four song EP.
Now you shouldn’t let all this talk about change and “broadening” scare you off – this is still merciless Death Metal all the way, just with a more textured undercurrent. The returning Mikael Åkerfeldt does an outstanding job and his ferocious performance on here leaves no doubt in my mind that he is one hell of a vocalist. Martin Axenrot (who replaced the ousted Dan Swanö) is tearing it up behind the drum kit, and the riffs are just as crunchy and punishing as ever, with the increased intricacy strangely not harming the flow of proceedings. The faster parts are faster than ever while the slower sections are more haunting and atmospheric than ever, so on a purely musical level I am not at all disappointed by “Unblessing The Purity”. Yes, I also miss that simplistic stomp of the material on “Resurrected Through Carnage” at times, but the deft lead work in “Blasting The Virginborn” (gotta love that title!), and the slice ‘n dice groove of “Sick Salvation” ensure than any nostalgic bickering is ultimately moot. Very heavy, very catchy and as tight as a nun’s ass, to quote one of the characters in “Sideways”. “Mouth Of Empty Praise” closes the EP on a doomy note, being much more restrained in pace than the rest, with chunky riffs overlaid with atmospheric soloing and even a great chanting section near the end that brings to mind a band like FUNERAL MIST. Great cover art as well, and kudos to the band for letting a fan (Dusty Peterson) create it. What’s not to like?
This is a strong little stopgap release that definitely wet my appetite for the forthcoming full length and I certainly enjoyed it a lot more than the somewhat listless “Nightmares Made Flesh”. Any fan of quality brutal Death Metal will like what the band has offered us on here.
One final word to the myopic naysayers: don’t worship the idea of a band, but the actual music. BLOODBATH needed to be more than some easily digestible tribute band at some point, and they certainly can’t let an overemphasis on tradition hamper their growth as a band. Nostalgia will only get you so far you know...
(Online May 20, 2008)