Monday, July 05, 2010

Bloodbath: Nightmares Made Flesh (2005) Review

When you hear the words "death metal supergroup," chances are you think of Bloodbath. They're not only the best known, they're also the best, and 2005's Nightmares Made Flesh is a perfect illustration.

Let's be clear: we are not here for the guitar solos, and we won't find any keyboards or clean vocals. This is death metal stripped down and simplified. We are here for the riffs. We are here for the heavy.

Even with straightforward, simple guitar solos, this material is still great. The songs generally alternate between extremely heavy grooves and high-speed aggression (the latter in the vein of Morbid Angel). And it's also extremely catchy--opener "Cancer of the Soul" illustrates perfectly.

Despite the absence of Mikael Åkerfeldt on this one, the vocals are still amazing. Replacement Peter Tägtgren (of Hypocrisy) hits the full range the Opeth frontman uses in his Bloodbath material, from ultra-low growls to bloodcurdling screams. You can hear all of it on standout track "Eaten".

The Verdict: I had stayed away from this one because of Åkerfeldt's absence. I was definitely wrong to do so--this album is still amazing. It doesn't have the refinement of the band members' main-band work, but that's the whole point. It's heavy, it's brutal, it's simple, and it's catchy: death metal distilled to 200 proof. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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