Wednesday 10 March 2021

Bloodkill - Throne of Control (2021)

Country: India
Style: Heavy/Thrash Metal
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 19 Jan 2021
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I've been hearing good things about Bloodkill, a new thrash band from Mumbai, India, who formed in 2016 and are on their debut album, so I was eager to check Throne of Control out. What I found is that they're a tight and reliable new band who chug really well, the pairing of Shubham Khare on lead and Vishwas Shetty on rhythm the powerhouse behind them. There's a fantastic midsection to For I am the Messiah where the latter chugs magnificently so the former can run free and there really isn't much at all to the title track except solid chugging and neat pauses.

They're not a particularly fast thrash band, falling more often into an Iron Maiden-esque heavy metal sound on songs like Unite and Conquer or a bouncy mid-pace thrash feel to songs like Blindead Circus which really ought to get the pit moving. They do speed up, but never for long enough for us to get a real workout. I have a feeling their pits are going to seriously and constantly churn but never go wild the way pits can. The band I kept coming back to the most for comparison is Death Angel, but the last Warbringer album sprang to mind as well.

If the guitars were my favourite aspect by far, almost every track coming close to the extended section of For I am the Messiah that absolutely dominates that song, my least favourite must be the vocals of Anirudh Gollapudi, who has a deliberately rough voice. He sings clean but it's very hoarse. There are a lot of points where this works, infusing songs like False Face or Unite and Conquer with a Tom Araya-esque attitude, but there are a lot of points where it seems to be too much, like late in 3B or early in Horrorscope, at which point he seems to be trying too hard to be over the top. I wonder how much of that is due to the production and whether it'll show as much on stage.

This isn't a particularly long album, but it doesn't outstay its welcome. There are seven songs proper, plus a minute long introduction, and they're all of a regular sort of length. With the exception of the shortest song, Blindead Circus, which only just nudges past three minutes, everything sits in the four to six minute range, long enough to build well and allow for instrumental workouts, but not so much that anything can even think about being epic and that limits Bloodkill's ability to mix it up.

This is a decent album, if mostly for the mid-paced thrash fans out there who lapped up Warbringer's release from last year, especially given the rough vocals. I liked a couple of these songs a lot, For I am the Messiah chief amongst them, and none of them let the side down. However, I'm not wowed in the way that some people seem to be at the moment, perhaps because I do like my thrash to blister rather than chug and there are precious few moments where Bloodkill do that. But that's fine. It just means that it may speak to you more than it does to me. It's good stuff.

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