BLOODBOUND – Creatures Of The Dark Realm [Japan Edition +2] (2021)
Despite BLOODBOUND‘s new album title “Creatures Of The Dark Realm” and the heavy-horror cover art, dont’t forget the band was founded by guitarist Tomas Olsson and keyboard player Henrik Olsson, both ex-members of AORster Street Talk. So yeah, their aim was to create a commercial power metal act but based in catchiness and melodies.
So “Creatures Of The Dark Realm” isn’t ‘heavy metal’ per se; sure, there’s double bass drum runs, rapid guitars and big vocals, but BLOODBOUND has a very accessible sound.
The new songs all have memorable hooks, while the parts are all played with expert precision. The guitar solos are all very slick and cool, while the rhythm section kicks ass. This is a very strong release that inspires multiple listening, and if a band can accomplish that, they have done their job well.
“Creatures Of The Dark Realm” was produced by the band, so you know you get the songs they way the band wanted. The songwriting team of Bergh / Olsson and vocalist Patrik Selleby started from scratch, compiling song ideas they collected individually and delivering 11 solid in-your-face tracks kicked off by a deceptive acoustic intro that sets the mood for the whole album.
There’s a clinical balance within the music, so that no single instrument seeks to hog the limelight. Each musician can be heard, and each brings forth an element that’s integral to the overall sound, be it a thundering double pedal drum assault, a driving riff, a satisfying bass rhythm, or a keyboard embellishment to add texture or atmosphere to the music. And, with Selleby, Bloodbound are blessed with a highly competent vocalist that can hit the high notes whilst injecting passion into his performances.
The majority of numbers into the album are of the slightly-faster-than-mid-paced, fist-pumping ilk, but it’s the positioning of each track which makes the entire package flow as a whole.
There’s epicness to ‘When Fate Is Callin’ or ‘Ever Burning Flame’, both employs a significant weight of backing vocals, urging us to join the bombastic choruses.
The band is as tight as granite, and they prove all over again with this album that they can write tightly structured songs packed with hair-raising dynamic shifts and vertiginous choirs. ‘A Gathering Of Souls’ shows it off best… a heavyweight, surging rock song with a power metal spine, closely followed by the anthemic ‘March To War’ and the bombastic ‘Death Will Lead The Way’, which ramps up the theatre, sounding much like a battle scene from Game Of Thrones.
Preceding ‘March Into War’, the rapid-fire ‘Gargoyle’s Gate’ picks up the energy and blasts it into the stratosphere (easily one of my personal highlights), then the vibrant ‘Face Of Evil’ – with its slightly irregular time signature – earns the sextet a ballad to wind down the whole affair.
After 20 seconds of the finale, “The Wicked & The Weak”, I was expecting an acoustic chill-out… but no! Those crafty Swedes played me for a fool with one more upbeat hymn to ensure I remain thoroughly satisfied.
This is all aided by a superb, polished production quality chocked full of impact.
”Creatures Of The Dark Realm” is easily recognizable Bloodbound; instantly catchy melodic power metal with a bombastic edge. It’s designed to appeal a wide range of listeners, effective, and catchy as Hell
01 – The Creatures Preludium
02 – Creatures of the Dark Realm
03 – When Fate Is Calling
04 – Ever Burning Flame
05 – Eyes Come Alive
06 – Death Will Lead the Way
07 – Gathering of Souls
08 – Kill Or Be Killed
09 – The Gargoyles Gate
10 – March Into War
11 – Face of Evil
12 – The Wicked and the Weak
13 – War of Dragons (Live)
14 – Stand and Fight (Live)
Patrik J Selleby – Vocals (Shadowquest, ex-Dawn of Silence)
Fredrik Bergh – Keyboards, Vocals (ex- Street Talk)
Tomas Olsson – Guitars (ex- Street Talk)
Henrik Olsson – Guitars
Anders Broman – Bass
Daniel Sjogren – Drums (ex-Billion Dollar Babies)