After a typical power metal intro with a spoken part in Manowar kind of tradition,
the first song explodes out of my speakers. I get thrown back in my chair and
when the song is over I'm still not able to speak or type. The first thing I did
when I had recovered, was to push the repeat button. If the album is full of songs of
this caliber, I have to give them the highest rating. This is the best power
metal track of this year and with a title that is original, but so good sounding.
The last week my neighbors already called the insane asylum several times to get
me admitted. I kept on shouting "Satanic Panic" almost all day!
The track has high speed, a very catchy refrain, excellent aggressive high
singing, double bass drumming, bombastic orchestral parts and could be the
blueprint for a power metal track. It sounds like a Judas Priest song from the 'Painkiller'
era with a refrain written by Powerwolf combined with the bombast of Sabaton.
The singing style has a big Halford influence and like the third song it also
reminds me of the band Cage. This third song "Iron Throne" has the same high
speed tempo and is although not as strong as "Satanic Panic" one hell of a track.
Patrik Johansson is an excellent vocalist, who masters the aggressive singing
style as good as a more melodic real power metal voice. In "Nightmares from the
Graves" his voice sounds the same as Tobias Sammet and that kind of timbre
returns in several other songs. Besides that I have to think of Niklas Isfeldt (Dream
Evil) as well. Sometimes bands use a child choir because it looks
interesting in the info sheet, but it doesn't make the song any stronger. In "Nightmares
from the Grave" it really adds something and makes the song complete.
After the first heavy fast tracks, a few more mid-tempo ones follow. These songs
have a lot more orchestral parts and have a lot Sabaton influences. "Stormborn"
sounds like a mix of Edguy with Sabaton with a Dream Evil twist. That this album
doesn't get the highest rating is because the first song "Satanic Panic" is
immediately the best track and after that I wanted to hear more songs of the
same quality, but not one of the other songs can top it. Still all the songs
that follow are good and of a high quality and every power metal fan will lick
his fingers of with this album. Only one song too regular and too average and
that is "Made of Steel". A very cliche track with lyrics that could have been
written by Manowar. It is an ode to metal, but with lyrics like: 'Stronger than
steel we are standing tall' and words like United, Forged in Fire and lots of
more cliches, a very childish song. I know that Manowar and Dream Evil do it all
the time, but Bloodbound doesn't need to do it! Shame on you, it is a weak spot on
excellent power metal album.
After this weak song, they fortunately get back on track again and counterbalance it
with the uptempo song "Blood of My Blood". Again a mix of traditional power
metal with Sabaton orchestral parts. All music has of course Judas Priest, Iron
Maiden and Helloween as main influences, but if you compare Bloodbound with more
nowadays bands, I would describe their music as a mix of Cage, Sabaton, Dream
Evil, Edguy, Hammerfall, Nightwish, Sonata Arctica and Powerwolf.
If I forget that one minor track, this is probably the best traditional
power metal album of the year. It tops the new Hammerfall in my opinion and this
is how power metal should sound like and what it was invented for (by Helloween)
in the first place. It gives you a good feeling, makes you want to sing-a-long
with, bang your head to and this all in well written songs that stick. These
Swedes are all excellent musicians and do have a vocalist that can be placed in
the same line as Kiske, Sammet, Osfeldt, Heidgert, Cans and Hayer. On top of
that the album has a top production and sounds like a Swiss clock.
Power metal fans have something to ask for this under the Christmas tree and it is