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Battlesword – And Death Cometh upon Us

Battlesword
And Death Cometh upon Us
by Santiago Puyol at 08 December 2019, 4:26 PM

Formed in 1999, BATTLESWORD reach their twenty years of existence releasing their third full-length, "And Death Cometh Upon Us." Having undergone some line-up changes, this German band sounds quite sharp and interesting on this album, mixing Melodic Death Metal with Thrash Metal, Progressive Metal and Viking Metal influences.

"Bloodmorning" is a full-blown headbanger. Powerful and catchy riffing move atop the frantic pace of the rhythm section. Christian Schmitz and Micha Klingen lay down some tasty guitar work, nothing flashy but richly melodic. A couple tempo changes come into a decisive but never intrusive way throughout the five minutes of the track.

The psychedelic "Serpents Amongst Us" comes next. Nasty yet spidery guitar patterns feed its Post-Rock textures and noisy outbursts. A reverb-drenched track that never gets drowned out, it is certainly a great example of production on an album quite uneven on that department. Its clean outro is simply beautiful.

"Smothered" brings in some Viking Metal vibes to the table, in the form of a Folk-inspired riff that happens to take the main stage. Andreas Klingen gets to play around with texture by giving the ride cymbals a little more presence. A little over two minutes into the track, it breaks into an epic, heavily syncopated section that shows the strength of the band’s musicianship. We even get a bit of always welcome shredding.

"Through Thy Shadows" is a fast-paced and kinetic track, and it takes a clearer influence from classic Melodic Scandinavian Metal on songwriting and riff building. It is followed by the dynamic and brutal "Ageless, I’m Reborn." Balancing full-on blast beat assaults with tribal-esque sections and groovy patterns makes it quite interesting. Noisy guitar wails and exotic melodies fill in the blanks of its frantic pace.

Mid-tempo rocker "Falling into the Arms of Morpheus" shows Battlesword’s classic Heavy Metal love. The guitar is very melodic and tasty while the drums lay down a Hard Rock groove. It certainly is the catchiest track on the album and even makes room for a jazzy, syncopated percussion-heavy breakdown.

"The Lion and the Eagle" has a stunning acoustic guitar intro that is folky and ethereal, being quite reminiscent of early BLACK SABBATH acoustic instrumentals. Being the most progressive song on the album, it features several time signature changes, and it gets into dense and aggressive riffs and some nasty guitar soloing. At times, melodies take on an almost circus-like feel, as twisted as they are memorable.

More Hard Rock influences and stylish soloing appear on "Once.” The band takes a stab at classic Metal melodies filtered through their brand of Melodic Death. This style suits them well and goes to show how diverse they can be. Once again, Battlesword shine a light on their strong songwriting, allowing some notable Pop sensibilities to become clear.

"At Night They Feast" brings back the abrasive distortion and demented yet surprisingly groovy drumming, making for an exhilarant and unpredictable ending. Some weird, demonic samples and noises pop up, adding a little melodrama and color to the song.

Despite never singing clean vocals, Axel Müller growls never get tiresome or monotone. They feel like a natural fit to the band’s sound and tone, have enough dynamism to be enjoyable and allow for some subtle variation in both emotion and melody.

The record has two distinctive sides, with the first one taking a little more traditional Melodic Death Metal route, while the second half shows a progressive undertone on the band’s songwriting, a clear love for classic Metal and Hard Rock and a reliable ear for perfectly placed solos.

The main issue with the album has to be its uneven production. Some tracks get lost into noise while others get enough room to breathe and build ("The Lion and the Eagle" or "Once" are perfect examples of good and even great production). The bass could be more audible in general, as it is mostly indistinguishable from the rest of the band.

Overall, "And Death Cometh upon Us" is a diverse, fun and intelligent record, filled with headbangers.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Into Battle
2. Bloodmorning
3. Serpents Amongst Us
4. Smothered
5. Through Thy Shadows
6. Ageless, I’m Reborn
7. Falling into the Arms of Morpheus
8. The Lion and the Eagle
9. Once
10. At Night They Feast
Lineup:
Axel Müller – Vocals
Christian Schmitz – Guitars
Micha Klingen – Guitars
Andreas Klingen – Drums
Ben Bays – Bass
Record Label: MDD Records
     


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