To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what angle to take in this review. Do I try a purely fair assessment of Bloodtruth’s abilities in the realm of brain-splitting technical death metal? Or do I view them through the lens that I can’t help but see it through: I’ve simply heard so much metal like this already. But then again, what about for the listeners out there who haven’t listened to Origin (get on that!), Nile and Obscura? And is the album really just one of many out there, interchangeable with the rest of the enormous flock of bands just like them?
What I will say at the outset is this, the album has some genuine charm to it. There are moments of strong riffing and rousing compositions that capture the listener’s attention – beyond the priestly chanting peppered throughout the album. Still, I feel as if the band could have tried harder to differentiate themselves. Don’t they want to be noticed? Don’t they want to make music that merits more than just, “well, they’re a lot like Origin and Arsis I guess”? Not that it’s really their problem that I happened to notice this. They are of course free to make whatever kind of metal they wish. So with that in mind, let’s dig into the album itself.
The subject matter, one critical of organized religion and belief in general, is a well-worn topic in heavy metal as well. Though it’s good to see a band try to use their extreme sound in a way that isn’t overtly blasphemous, hateful and inflammatory. Not that this doesn’t make for good metal, it does. But it makes for a more challenging exercise when a band doesn’t have to rely on the same tropes as Deicide and Black Witchery.
Without a doubt, these songs must be difficult to play, particularly the guitar and drum parts. And its good that the band tries to add some extra color with the gregorian-esque chanting. It feels a bit forced, a way to prevent direct comparisons to the band’s origins in Fleshgod Apocalypse. But as this is a technical death metal record, it has the same virtues of any record in the genre. The riffs have a complication that’s off the charts and the other instruments are played with an impressive degree of virtuosity. And its just genuinely punishing and aggressive music, which is a good saving grace for most albums.
But technical talent does not always translate into a compelling work of art, or even an enjoyable slice of entertainment. I know I say this a lot, but I really think Bloodtruth could benefit from a more raw production quality on their next album. The clean and crisp sound of modern technical death metal has made it sound too constrained, too predictable and too polished. This music is supposed to roar. It still does that here, but it had a pillow over its mouth.
Favorite Songs: “Surrounded by Blind Bigots”, “Summoning the Heretics”, “March of the Fools”