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Bloodbath ‎– The Fathomless Mastery -CD

€4.90

Old school death metal. Everyone raves on and on about it. The old gods -- Morbid Angel, Obituary, Dismember, Suffocation, and sundry -- are still worshipped, and rightfully so. Bloodbath, a Swedish semi-supergroup, was seemingly created to inject old school death metal into the modern death-lite that infests our ears like so many mites.

But Bloodbath seems to have taken on a life of its own. I look on the group now as a serious foray into death metal. It represents a bridge between old school and the modern day offerings. Say what you will, but Bloodbath is where Mikael Akerfeldt always should've been. On The Fathomless Mastery, his vocals are truly outstanding. He's kept far away from anything resembling songwriting, so quite naturally, there's no Opethish clean parts. No, this is balls-to-the-walls brutal f'ing death metal.

The riffs and the guitar tone, unlike Bloodbath's debut LP, are perfect. It's not 100% true to the infamous Swedish chainsaw tone, but the influences are noticeable to connoisseurs of Entombed or Dismember. The album is structured in such a way as to barrage you with a large number of relatively short songs, which is something for which I took points off. The solos are pure Swedish death -- traces of melody, but invoking melancholy, despair, and horror, rather than sunshine and daisies (Necrophagist, I stare in your direction).

By far, the highlight of the album is Mock The Cross. The song is simple and uncomplicated, flying in the face of modern fretboard wankery. But to me, the song's purpose is ratcheting up the tension towards a creepy-as-fuck ending.

The album is a great listen for anyone, especially Opeth fans who feel cheated by Mikael's tendency to water down the death metal.