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Blood Stronghold – Spectres Of Bloodshed

Blood Stronghold
Spectres Of Bloodshed
by Rory Kuczek at 21 August 2020, 9:15 PM

Hailing from Australia and Poland come forth BLOOD STRONGHOLD, a black metal band. The band formed in 2014, and has released a variety of demos, compilation and three full-length albums. Their most recent release, which came about march of this year entitled “Spectres Of Bloodshed,” is a fascinating mix of melodic waves and the depressing elements of black metal. The only point of critique lied in the recording: the drums seemed poorly recorded, but I could not tell if this was the raw aspect of the piece or was a product of their production. Nevertheless, the album did not stray much from their specified ideas, but used their work to create shifts and patterns that were seen throughout each track.

The bass drums hits steadily as a wave of atmospheric clouds roll up from the ground in “Edict Of Conflict.” Guitars stay put on a simple melody mimicking the keyboards, but are deeper and distinguished. The rhythm repeats until the end of the track.

In “Unbowed Wolves,” drums travel as if they were hit in space, and the guitars sound epically against this. It begins with poor recording or an intentional echoed sound. A man sings raspy, but this hidden by the high pitched nature of the drums. The track breaks down in a series of sounds that are intangible and elongated, simpler, notes. Keyboards emphasize these parts. The song fades in a whisper.

Guitars cue and sound delicate as if a finger brushed the ends of a woman’s hair. “From The Depths Of Veles Sea” blankets the softened melody that carries itself against the high pitched ideas of the drums. A bass is hidden beneath. The voice screams occasionally but keeps to a low rumble. These ideas break down into a folkish melody, and the guitars harmonize well with the other instrumentation. The rawness of the piece is kept until the end.

Blood Dawn” features atmospheric guitars that tremolo pick alone in the distance with ideas stretched sparsely. As the drums and voice are added, the track gains momentum and the sounds morph into a similar yet different set of notes. The reformulation continues with higher pitched guitar notes, and the drums are effective but not overbearing. The piece breaks down in a jargon space with notes that are built up and then let go to allow for reverberance. The double kick is hidden beneath the beauty of the guitars, and the voice is louder than it has been.

In “Forests Dark Eyes,” a synthetic lullaby gains flight and drums beat solemnly. Guitars add flight to this, and the world is lit with an array of hues invisible to the bird’s eye. A melody is written over the other. As the voice is introduced, the piece is more solidified and repeats their pattern for quite some time. The drums speed further and double kick their ways through the moments of the piece. The track breaks down in celestial hymns and the tune shifts completely to darker and lower notes. It seems to be off tuned but it could be done intentionally. As if air moves in and out of the body, the sounds moves similarly. This is their best piece from the album.

The sounds of the guitars change to a different key from the rest of the piece in “Crowned Virtue.” Layers of instrumentation are added and the drums exhibit a different pace. The ideas shift and the bass is brought further out as the voice growls loudly. As the sounds continue ancestral-like, the song fades until reaching oblivion.

Sunder” begins as guitars spaciously rise and fall. Drums are added within and the voice gains power. The song breaks down, and whispers fall into the ambience of the low lying guitars. The piece is enthusiastically unsettling. Thunderstorms chime and the wind picks up. This carries the world through the end of the era.

BLOOD STRONGHOLD’s “Spectres Of Bloodshed,” is a solemn creation of atmospheric ambience. Though simple at certain moments in time, this works to empower their tracks without being overly complicated to their listeners. The rawness was exquisite, but for the drum instrumentation, it was plainly recorded wrongly. Despite this, it was a truly wonderous album.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 6

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Edict Of Conflict
2. Unbowed Wolves
3. From The Depths Of Veles Sea
4. Blood Dawn
5. Forests Dark Eyes
6. Crowned Virtue
7. Sunder
Lineup:
Krew – Drums
Nightwolf – Guitars, Bass, and Vocals
Record Label: Putrid Cult
     


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