Pick Your Rock and Metal

Friday, October 10, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: Technical Ecstasy from Bloodshot Dawn on new release Demons

LET there be guitars, and there were guitars, and fingers of many took hold of these "strange devices"* and when they touched it "brought forth a sound" and with each passing year the sounds and spells woven by these strange devices became more and more intricate.

From Iommi's doom-laden chords, to Eddie Van Halen's explosive pull-offs and trills, to Randy Rhoads classical take on speedy solos, through Chuck's creation of the death metal genre almost single-handedly the way that the six-string (and sometimes seven-string) has been applied is an evolutionary process, with more textures, more speed, more power and more melody hitting albums and live shows.

In terms of extreme technical metal/death metal, fans of Allegaeon and Revocation can pin back their lugholes and get a blast of Bloodshot Dawn's second album and prepare to be left in a state of awe. Indeed, anyone who appreciates guitar will appreciate the album 'Demons'

That's not to say that the album is just a blur of fast melodic guitar stunts. Rather it is a balance which allows the structure of songs and the arrangement work to accommodate the lyrical theme and have the solos and insane riffage work together.

Take for example 'Unified' which has a theme of internal despair, matched with righteous anger. As the song tumbles towards its end the riffs come as an insistent clarion call for a soul in a state of rage before concluding with a bass breakdown and final war cry.

Hailing from Portsmouth Bloodshot Dawn have recently added Janne Jaloma (Deals Death) to complete the soundscape painted by Josh McMorran (guitar and vocals), Anthony Ridout (bass) and Ben Ellis (guitars). Given that it was funded as an independent release by a Kickstarter campaign that reached its target in four days the pressure must have been huge as they went into the studio to record tracks that those who paid into the Kickstarter fund had no chance of hearing for several months.

That they achieved such a tremendous level of songs in a relatively short space of time is notable in itself.

As if their own output wasn't stunning enough they have managed to cram a host of guest appearances into the 43 minutes with Sven De Caluw√© (Aborted, System Divide), Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry), Teemu M√§ntysaari (Wintersun), Andy James (ex-Sacred Mother Tongue) and Chris Amott (Armageddon, ex-Arch Enemy) all lending their skills.

There is not a bad song on this, nor a solo 'dialed in'. From the melodic shredding on 'The Image Faded', through to each fill, blastbeat, bass solo run and rhythmic anchoring the overall sounds remains intact throughout.

The closing duo of tracks 'Human Void' and title track 'Demons' are particularly notable for their intensity, and reinforce the lyrical themes through their brutal assault.

Josh explained what that theme was intended to be:

“The title ‘Demons’, which is also the name of one of the tracks, perfectly represents the lyrical content within the album," he said "The song’s lyrical content is about demons on both a personal and a wider social scale, explaining our views on modern society and the struggles within the mind.

"The album is all about beating your demons and making something of the time you have on the earth whilst battling the ever lasting struggles and trials that come with being human.”

Heavy dude! Real heavy thoughts there - so make the music reflect that and the result is an album that at one level is a masterclass in musicianship, while on another level has a compelling theme running through each song.

Well worth the effort of continuous listens.

Review by Jonny

Demons is released on 26th October
Artwork on the album is by Par Olofoson
Bloodshot Dawn play Belfast's Voodoo on 27th October

* Listen to 2112 for that 'strange device reference

No comments: