Although it would be too early to say yet, Bloodbound may quite possibly end up being the best newcomer of 2006. Formed by Swedish blood brothers Tomas Olsson on guitars and Fredrik Bergh on keys and bass, Bloodbound quickly became a complete band with the addition of talented drummer Oskar Belin and the unique vocalist Urban Breed, who recently departed Tad Morose after being with them for nearly a decade. Way back in 2000, when Tad Morose released their second album with Breed on vocals, Undead, I thought it was the first power metal disc in years that really excited me. It was totally new and fresh, not just for the band but the whole power metal genre. As years passed, Tad Morose continued to put out quality albums, but unfortunately they chose to to expand on the sound they'd created with Undead rather than exploring more adventurous areas.
Now, after all these years, there is another band, again with Urban Breed behind the mic. I am absolutely awe-struck by this guy's vocal performance on this album. His unmatched range, limitless power and unique tone are all perfectly united on Nosferatu and Breed does a killer job singing the songs mostly written by Bergh and Olsson. The duo exhibits intense songwriting ability on all eleven tracks, experimenting with elements of heavy metal, melodic metal and Euro power metal. It is hard to imagine anyone who likes these types of music being disappointed with Nosferatu. The arrangements are amazing, the guitar tone is rich and Bergh's bass sound is crushingly dense. Keyboards aren't too high in the mix, nor are they excessively used. But on songs like "Desdemonamelia", they play a vital role during the intro underpinning Bergh's masterful bass work. Fans of Breed era Tad Morose are going to drool when they hear this and the more traditional heavy metal anthem "Crucified", a song that moves from thrashy power metal to relentless speed riffing and classically inspired guitar soloing. Tomas Olsson also opts for somewhat classical sweep arpeggios on "Midnight Sun" before he makes a swift foray into a killer unison lead with Bergh and Belin. His playing is smooth and he has a crystal clear guitar tone that could be likened to Magnus Karlsson's work on the Allen/Lande project, and when he goes for the classical stuff with Breed laying down his amazing voice, I couldn't help but think what it would be like if Urban Breed were to sing on a future Yngwie Malmsteen disc. I believe it could work both ways as he would finally get the big recognition he deserves and Malmsteen would impress his long-time fans with a 'new' voice.
There are no fillers here, but the songs that impressed me the most are "Behind the Moon" and "Metal Monster" for the sheer beauty of their vocal melodies that are so catchy yet also heavy. The way Breed shifts from toned-down whispered vocals to soaring screams that drip with power is so uncannily Bruce Dickinson during the classic Maiden period it's jawdropping. Galloping riffs can also be heard on the opening number and both songs contain otherworldy vocal melodies that would make the crowds go crazy in a live setting. The title track "Nosferatu" deserves a special mention as well. Again its Maiden-inspired acoustic intro and booming guitar verses, sick soloing, and octopus drumming are terrific. The band's love for Helloween style Euro power metal is best noticed on "Fallen from Grace", marked by incessant double bass drums, multi-track guitar rhythms, and of course Breed's heart-stopping vocals, especially during the very end. I also love the aggression he displays on "Into the Dark", as it reminds me of his work on A Mended Rhyme, easily the most overlooked Tad Morose disc to date.
The production is amazing. Multi-textured and rich in clarity, everything is executed with finesse and utter perfection. If you heard Kamelot's The Black Halo last year and thought it was a real breath of fresh air, you must pick up Nosferatu immediately. Kudos goes to Mark Wilkinson who has done a very good artwork for the album, quite similar to his classic works with Maiden and Priest.
- Behind the Moon
- Into the Dark
- Metal Monster
- Fallen from Grace
- Screams in the Night
- For the King
- Midnight Sun
- On the Battlefield