It's 2008, and Bloodbath have returned with another stellar platter of old school Swedish death metal. Gone are Peter Tagtgren and Dan Swano, in once again comes Mikael Akerfeldt, plus new guitarist Per Eriksson, and for his first studio appearance with the band, Opeth drummer Martin 'Axe" Axenrot. So yes, it's mostly Katatonia & Opeth members at this point, but after hearing The Fathomless Mastery, it's obvious that this new Bloodbath CD sounds nothing like those two bands. If you loved the first two Bloodbath releases, this one's even more refined and brutal, though there is a slight more hint of melody at times. Akerfeldt's got one of the best death metal voices around, and he sounds especially venmous here, his fierce growl tears through tracks like "At The Behest Of Their Death" and "Slaughtering The Will To Live", while his gargantuan bellows cut through a fierce wall of savage guitar riffs from Anders Nystrom & Eriksson on "Mock the Cross". Though some of the arrangements are clever, tight, and often slightly technical, the band doesn't pretend to deliver anything too demanding for the listener, this is old school death metal from start to finish (which you can tell immediately by just looking at the artwork and lyrics) that is absolutely expertly played and executed. Axenrot might just be the missing link that takes this band over the top, his virtuoso drumming is so skilled and powerful here, delivering blast beats when needed but offering up so much more in his repertoire. Listen to his varied attack on the pummeling "Iesous" for proof of his talents.
Other highlights on this gem include the stirringly dark & brutal "Earthrot", and the massive crunch-o-rama that is " Hades Rising", Akerfeldt's snarls smashing through a wall of power chords, pinch harmonics, and blast beats. Honestly, there's not a weak cut on this one, the fellows in Bloodbath putting together a tour-de-force of old school Swedish death metal that's going to raise plenty of demand for a tour and a follow-up. After this CD, it's going to be hard for this band to consider Bloodbath merely a studio side project much longer.
1. At The Behest Of Their Death 3:40
2. Process Of Disillumination 3:09
3. Slaughtering The Will To Live 3:37
4. Mock The Cross 4:02
5. Treasonous 4:13
6. Iesous 3:33
7. Drink From The Cup Of Heresy 3:36
8. Devouring The Feeble 3:11
9. Earthrot 3:19
10. Hades Rising 5:05
11. Wretched Human Mirror 4:12