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Bloodbark - Bonebranches Award winner

by Katharine Hassett at 15 June 2018, 8:13 AM

BLOODBARK is a darkly mysterious, atmospheric black metal band that thrives on remaining anonymous to let the music speak for itself. It is rumored they are from Russia but there has been no confirmation of this from the band. The deeply melancholic music indeed speaks to the Russian spirit, so this writer is going to pretend for practical purposes that they are indeed Russki. The members of this curious dark metal act choose to remain in the shadows with the object of sharing "a piece of their home, a piece of nature that belongs to all who listen."

A sharing indeed, as the debut album "Bonebranches" proves to be a dark and dreary three song album that does a superlative job of conveying raw emotion – this was not an easy album to evaluate, as this reviewer was brought to tears several times. "As Wolves" starts with a piano melody backed with seriously depressive strings that eventually completes the atmosphere with the familiar high tremolo picking known to black metal, coupled with a headbangable 4/4 beat, albeit a headbang done with eyes closed, in weary reflection. The slow burner of an opener is sprinkled with moments of poetic spoken word and high pitched shrieks we all crave and love.

"Eyeless Winter" begins again with passionate strings and piano that would rip even Godzilla's heart out of his chest. The lamenting screams pair perfectly with the emotional melody that is called to mind throughout the song. Some folk-like guitars can also be heard on this track, which add to the overall "nature" feel that is successfully conveyed. A well executed skank blast reminds the listener that heaviness is not to be compromised for these incognito metallers.

The closer, "Ferns and Roads" is a slow to build 18 minute epic, opening with keyboards that sound almost pulled out of Final Fantasy VII and contribute well to the waterworks. The atmosphere chokes the listener at around 3:30 and soon drowns them in skank blast beats that can remind one of a fierce winter in a Siberian prison. Atmospheric black metal is not for everyone and it can be hard to distinguish yourself in such a saturated genre, but on their very first attempt, BLOODBARK completely comes into their own, laying down three gut-wrenching tracks that have serious potential to bring up repressed memories.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. As Wolves
2. Eyeless Winter
3. Ferns and Roads
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 25 September 2022

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