Style: Death/Thrash Metal
Release Date: 1 Feb 2019
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So there I was at four o'clock in the morning, in bed with headphones on, sampling a bunch of albums to see if any leapt out as obvious candidates for review and Bloodmores kicked me in the frickin' teeth. The bastards. So much for sleep.
This is a peach of an album, the sort of death-infused progressive thrash that I was digging so much in the UK as the late eighties became the early nineties, a scene which I miss dearly. The Seeds of Seasons may well run a tad too long—and I'm talking about the album here as well as the fourteen minute title track—but there's no doubt that I'll be playing this a heck of a lot.
For some reason, thrash never reached the levels of success in the UK back then that it did in the US and Germany, but the scene was a healthy one with vibrant and talented bands like Slammer, Virus and Onslaught leading the way for a whole slew of lesser known names. I loved Catharsis, Fallacy and Darkened live and on demos just as I loved Metal Messiah, Hydra Vein and Deathwish, who made it to the point of releasing actual albums.
Bloodmores play thrash the way I love it most, like an old school heavy metal band with a taste for melodic power were tight enough musically to be able to ramp all the way up to serious speeds without losing either their tasty riffs or the driving oomph to generate a serious pit. Listen to a song like Save Your Prayers to hear the epitome of this.
It kicks in hard and heavy, with the sheer power of a Toranaga, but faster drums from Chris Mansell make us want to create a pit wherever we happen to be. Then they generate a glorious riff from which they can construct the next five minutes. They know how to slow down and they emphatically know how to speed back up. The vocals of Alex Cunliffe are harsh but not so far down that road that we can't keep up with what he's singing. He also plays guitar, as does Richard Jodrell, and while I don't know which one is soloing while the other is underpinning with that riff, I do know that both of them do glorious work. And the track also knows how to end, leaving us bright eyed and satisfied but still wanting more.
Seriously, this album is worth buying just for Save Your Prayers alone, but that's just one track of nine included here and it's not the fastest, the longest or the most worthy of exploration. It's just a track that a lot of other bands would kill to be able to write, let alone be able to pull off with this apparent ease. Bands with million sellers behind them ought to be drooling at the effortless power and style that Bloodmores demonstrate as they kick off tracks like A Monument to Illusions or Blind to the Fore.
While there's a consistent sound throughout, they do mix it up. There are frantic songs and more patient ones. Many move from one to the other. The title track that closes out the album is a notably progressive piece with sections that gallop and sections that blister but also sections that are calmly introspective. Everyone gets their moment in the spotlight on this track and Bloodmores are so tight musically that I could listen to their instrumental sections all day.
So, what's wrong here? Well, Bloodmores hail from the wrong side of the Pennines but I can't hold that too much against them. The bass of Connor Heelis has little intention of doing anything flash; it does come out for special attention a few times but it's mostly content with playing its part in the ruthless wall of sound that propels the band forward. Alex Cunliffe is also a much more notable guitarist than he is a vocalist; he does nothing wrong on the mike but he hasn't found a unique delivery and may not have looked for one. So yeah, there are flaws but not one of them has any real negative effect.
This is great stuff period but it's especially great stuff for a debut album. Bloodmores combine the power and majesty of Toranaga, the heavy back end of Onslaught and the catchiness of commercial Satyricon, often done at the speed of a Xentrix. Now why am I still on the other side of the pond? I need to see this band live!