Back in 2002, when Bloodbath released their last album (their debut disc, "Resurrection Through Carnage"), the rock music scene was swarming with nu-metal bands like Limp Bizkit. Flash forward three years and the heavy music scene is now overflowing with Swedish melodeath-influenced metalcore bands like Killswitch Engage. But whether several years in the past or modern day, it's always been very refreshing to hear a new Bloodbath album. And while "Nightmares Made Flesh" may not break down any walls, it's good to know that you won't find one trace of Fred Durst-style rapping or KsE-esque soulful singing. Indeed, this five piece is a rare find nowadays: a not very melodic Swedish death metal band.
A fan might be quick to dismiss Bloodbath's new album, "Nightmares Made Flesh," because it's the band's first album without the talents of Opeth singer Mikael Akerfeldt. But most any Bloodbath/death metal fan will tell you that newcomer Peter Tagtgren does a fine job of filling in for Akerfeldt's shoes. Peter's Hellish voice sounds equally as effective and intense whether it's belting out low bellows or high, glass shattering shrieks. Plus, the rest of the band seem to great, as well. Blakkheim and Dan Swano (who was Bloodbath's former drummer) comprise the guitar duo, and they turn out many exceptional, fiery, and mighty heavy riffs. And meanwhile, newbie drummer Martin Axenrot pummels away at his trapkit with loose, thrashy precision.
"Cancer Of The Soul," which features thick, churning guitars and thunderous double bass work, is the album's fist bludgeoning. "Brave New Hell" and "Soul Evisceration" feature pounding, bulldozing riffs, mini guitar solos, and cool, shrill battle cries, making these songs worthy follow ups to the album opener. Elsewhere, "Eaten" is a slower, churning rhythm with an acoustic interlude and a few speaker-shaking bellows; "Bastard Son Of God" is full of grumbling guitars and pounding drums; "The Ascension" successfully incorporates an orchestra into the mix of blazing riffs, rapid fire drums, and ascending guitar solos; and, lastly, "Draped In Disease" is highlighted by a whiplash tempo change, as well as more scorching riffs and jackhammer double bass drumming.
So, all in all, "Nightmares Made Flesh" may not really break down any new walls, but when you consider how condensed and cliche the Swedish metal scene is today, any metalhead would tell you it's great to have Bloodbath back.