Bloodbound – Unholy Cross (2011)

Posted: March 18, 2011 in Music

Despite the thrash-looking album covers and death metal name and logo, Bloodbound are a power metal band from Sweden who enjoy tackling the darker subjects in life with the upbeat sound of epic metal. Ever since their debut, ‘Nosferatu’, they’ve steadily kept to the same formula album after album while writing music in a style that seems to betray the nature of its album content. That being said, it’s quite decent music by power metal standards, and the surprise it delivers when hearing an album like ‘Unholy Cross’, which seems more apt for what one would expect from death or black metal, is also a decent twist of events. Fans who have never heard this band before will be happy to know that the inspiring, heroic chugs of the guitars, soaring vocals, and steady drum patterns do well at taking listeners through quite the adventure without the overly cliché keyboards that so many other power metal bands do. There are indeed keyboards included in this album, but they’re subtly used and not as overt sounding.

On the other hand, though, much of the album tends to stay in the same vein throughout the track by sticking to the same structure of repetitive, power metal structured riffs with their upbeat tones and breaking for extreme, thrash inspired solos during the interludes. Just listening to “The Ones We Left Behind” and the even paced guitar chugs, group choruses, and rough but cleanly sung vocals back by the drums sets the expectation for most of the other tracks, even though there are a few stand outs from the others. The opening track, ‘Moria’, makes the group chorus and backing vocals sound much more epic and grandiose compared to other tracks. ‘Brothers Of War’ takes a turn for the more morose with its sad guitar tones, a complete contrast to the more upbeat style of the other songs. The title track, ‘Unholy Cross’, opts for a more hard rock/ thrash based feel to the riffs and seems to have a newfound energy that burned out by track six, offering something fresh over the stale.

As a whole, the album is a fun ride, but for most power metal fans who have heard a variety of bands, it won’t really get a rise out of them. For me, I’m used to bands like Iron Maiden, Rhapsody of Fire and Kamelot who tend to go for a more epic structure, either in instrumentation or storytelling/ album concept. Bloodbound does bring about itself a sense of hope and inspiration with its music, especially with a track like ‘Together We Fight’. Because of that, those who are looking for “happy metal”, per say, would find this band something really worth listening to, and even fantasy-heads might also find this album appealing for its dark nature that is embedded amongst the inspirational tracks.

Considering the band is still trying to find it’s identity after – again – replacing ex-frontman Urban Breed with newcomer Patrik Johansson. The injection of a few more modern elements than their counterparts saves this effort from being just run-of-the-mill, like so many other releases of late – yet it still feels like the best is yet to come from Bloodbound. Unholy Cross is a refreshing listen, a decent album, and a great introduction to power metal for anyone reading this that is new to the sound.

7/10.

Tracklist:
01 Moria
02 Drop the Bomb
03 The Ones We Left Behind
04 Reflections of Evil
05 In For the Kill
06 Together We Fight
07 The Darkside of Life
08 Brothers of War
09 Message From Hell
10 In the Dead of Night
11 Unholy Cross

MySpace: Link | Wiki: Link | Download (320kbps): Link

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