Total Time: 44:49
Label: Napalm Records
Sixth album for the Swedish Death Metal band BLOODBATH and third one with Nick Holmes (yes,the one from PARADISE LOST) on vocals. For anyone who does not know what BLOODBATH is, let’s have a few words to understand what’s the deal here. The band was formed by Mikael Åkerfeldt (of OPETH), Anders Nyström, Jonas Renkse (of KATATONIA) and Dan Swanö (NIGHTINGALE and EDGE OF SANITY) in 1998. These guys wanted to play some classic Swedish Death Metal colored with some American styled Death Metal (which was raging at that time) and see what the outcome would be. The project, as evidenced by its 23 years of life, went very well. Nick Holmes took over singing duties back in 2014, with the band releasing “Grand Morbid Funeral” that same year. In 2018 they released “The Arrow Of Satan Is Drawn” and with that we reach 2022 when the band released the under review here “Survival Of The Sickest”.
In “Survival Of The Sickest” we have to deal with 11 songs, in relatively Old-School Death Metal style, sprinkled with plenty of Thrash influences. A typical example of that can be found at the opening riff of the record, with “Zombie Inferno” being a borderline completely Thrash Metal song. The next few songs are more of Death Metal styled, like “Dead Parade” and “Putrefying Corpse” although, the Thrash elements still remain evident, with songs like “Carved” leaving a strong SLAYER aftertaste. In the rest of the album there are songs that do stand out like the super heavy “To Die” and “Tales Of Melting Flesh”. However, despite the fact that “Survival Of The Sickest” is a good album, it lacks that “something” that would really make it stand out. The cover artwork is all rotten and ugly, just like the album’s contents, so it is spot on. I think the real issue and where “Survival Of The Sickest” loses points is the production of the album. The production on BLOODBATH’s sixth record exudes a relatively modern aura, which comes in contrast to the band’s musical output. For example, in “The Arrow Of Satan Is Drawn” and in general earlier BLOODBATH releases, this element was present. The production was drier and more aggressive and served the band’s style much better. I consider this change in the new album completely wrong and I cannot understand why the opted for a warmer tone, which ultimately costs in the aggression and the overall atmosphere of the album.
In short, this is more or less the situation with “Survival Of The Sickest”. A professional mixing of Old-School Swedish Death Metal with American Thrash/Death, which will inevitably bring a delightful result to the ears of extreme metal fans. The production really messed me up and I think it’s a big foul on BLOODBATH. It remains to be seen whether this will be their sound from now on or if “Survival Of The Sickest” will be a minor break. It is worth mentioning that BLOODBATH have dedicated their new album to the late L-G Petrov (ENTOMBED and ENTOMBED A.D.) who passed away in March 2001 due to a rare form of cancer.
Editor: Vaggos “Arkouda” Katsis
Related Link: BLOODBATH – Official Page