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Bloody Falls - Burn the Witch

Bloody Falls
Burn the Witch
by Hutch at 05 December 2021, 2:46 PM

Having plied their trade as EXILED GENESIS for four years, the musicians involved regrouped and in 2017 emerged as BLOODY FALLS. Hailing from Valeakosi in Finland, the five-piece bring a groove and death metal combination. Their debut release “Thanatos” was released in April 2018. The arrival of their sophomore release “Burn the Witch” provided me with my first opportunity to get involved.

First impressions aren’t brilliant. Too often a competent and tight band can be destroyed by a mediocre vocalist and whilst there isn’t a lot wrong with Antero Hakala’s delivery, it’s nothing above average and his Randy Blythe style doesn’t do a huge amount. It’s a shame because BLOODY FALLS are a tight unit, albeit following a method that has been done to death in recent years. Bear in mind that LAMB OF GOD, who I would class, alongside PANTERA as the daddies of the groove have been kicking arse for over two decades and maybe you’ll get my point.

Opening duo “Insurrection” and the savage “Soul Ripper” work well, with the sound big and bombastic, the aggression channelled into a pummelling delivery which certainly doesn’t offend. By the fourth track, “Descend”, we get some guest vocals from a female singer who I guess from the band’s Facebook page may be Salla Flinkman (apologies by there was no information to tell me who adds these). Unfortunately, the song isn’t particularly impressive, leaving no lasting memory.

There’s a decent bit of chainsaw guitar chugging away on “Self-Inflicted Pain” which at least powers away with some solid lead breaks, but it’s already five songs into the album and on second listen, the repetitive approach to the band’s songs is becoming apparent. However, there is always hope, and “The Witch” briefly offers it. Further female vocals, this time of the ‘witch’ herself attempt to cast some atmosphere and darkness but by now the music was beginning to irritate. The songs are simply not that good. The ferocious breakdown doesn’t resonate, and whilst there is a thunderous attack, it’s hard to get very excited about it.

Things fail to improve on “Braindead” and once again I’m wondering if it’s the rather lacklustre vocals that are causing much of the damage. They really don’t float my boat, and when something doesn’t gel, it begins to grate. It’s a bit like wearing an ill-fitting shirt. You don’t need to take it off, but you spend all the time wearing it in a state of discomfort. That’s the best comparison I can make – it’s listenable but I struggled to maintain concentration due to the itchy collar!

With three songs to go, it was going to need something a bit special to drag this release up to a decent rating. Sadly, “Realms of the Fallen” with its nu-metal vibe sounds worse than what has preceded it. More of the same fare, and I’m afraid this was the penultimate nail in the proverbial coffin. The finale to this rather average affair comes in the shape of an eight-minute song, “Fathers of Sin”. It brings a slightly slower tempo, with an edge of doom introduced to the proceedings, but the vocals once again make me cringe. “Fathers of Sin” may be one of the better tracks on the album, but would you really wade through forty-odd minutes in the hope of a final ray of light? Unlikely.

In summary, and I hate to be negative, BLOODY FALLS bring an average quality of song writing to the table and it’s the lack of originality and variety that means I found it quite a struggle. That’s not to say you will of course. Solidly delivered, it’s by no means the worst record I’ve heard in 2021; but when there are so many fine ones about, then anything that dips below the line tends to pale into insignificance rather quickly.

Song writing:  6
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production:  7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Insurrection
2. Soul Ripper
3. A Reason to Live
4. Descend
5. Self Inflicted Pain
6. Burn the Witch
7. Braindead
8. Realm of the Unseen
9. Last Rites
10. Father of Sin
Lineup:
Antero Hakala - Vocals
Stavros Mathios - Guitar
Marko Mäkinen - Guitar
Mika Lehtinen - Bass
Rami Vartiainen - Drums
Record Label: Art Gates Records
     


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