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Bloodbath: The Wacken Carnage

With the uncertainty surrounding the future of this little Swedish death metal supergroup, chances are you might never see the line-up featured on The Wacken Carnage together again. With Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt & Martin 'Axe' Axenrot quite busy with their main band, and Nightingale/Edge of Sanity's Dan Swano being ousted from the group, remaining mates Anders Nystrom and Jonas Renske might just be better off focusing on their main act Katatonia. Too bad though, as this is a killer line-up, evident throughout this live CD/DVD set recorded at the 2005 Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany. These guys deliver old school Swedish death metal, without any of the trimmings, unless of course you count blood stains and ripped stinky clothes as extras. Though it's odd seeing Akerfeldt as the frontman without a guitar slung on his shoulder, he does a fine job here bellowing out the grisly lyrics to classics like 'Cancer of the Soul", "Brave New Hell", and "Soul Evisceration". Both Nystrom and Swano deliver the goods with plenty of crushing riffs (remember, there's nothing fancy here), and Dan also helps out with some great backing vocal growls. Renske stands off to the side and delivers his bass lines, a big change considering he is the singer/frontman for Katatonia, and Axe is a house of fire behind the drum kit. Really good mix of songs here, covering all three Bloodbath albums, so you get Akerfeldt singing a few tunes from the one album that featured Peter Tagtgren on vocals as well, which he handles just fine. There is some between song banter between Mikael and the audience, and you can tell the crowd is really into the show, especially considering how rare a Bloodbath live appearance actually is. Watching the well done DVD, you can really feel the mood of the day, as the weather looks like it had just rained, fans all muddy and wet, band covered in blood, and old school death metal showering the hillside.

Peaceville Records has done a real nice job here, the 2 disc set delivered in a square jewel case, complete with a great booklet stacked with live photos and lyrics. If this kick ass band/side project never again records or plays together, this will be a nice testament to their career.

Track Listing
1. Intro 0:24
2. Cancer Of The Soul 3:49
3. So You Die 4:28
4. Soul Evisceration 4:03
5. Ways To The Grave 3:54
6. Ominous Bloodvomit 4:36
7. Like Fire 5:02
8. Bastard Son Of God 3:10
9. Breeding Death 5:12
10. Outnumbering The Day 4:06
11. Brave New Hell 4:35
12. Furnace Funeral 5:20
13. Eaten 4:20

Added: January 26th 2009
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Peaceville Records
Hits: 2681
Language: english

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Bloodbath: The Wacken Carnage
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-01-26 15:11:52
My Score:

It's not too often that you find the term "super group" applied to the likes of a Death Metal band, but when it comes to this particular lineup for the band Bloodbath is most certainly makes sense. The Swedish Death Metal group delivers the no-holds barred approach to the genre and this rare concert appearance from 2005 is not something we can easily expect to see again based on the daytime gigs of its roster. The supposed "one time only gig" finds Michael Akerfeldt and Martin Axenrot (members of Opeth) handling the vocal and drumming duties, while Anders Nystrom and Jonas Renske (guitar and bass respectively) hail from the Doom Metal band Katatonia. Rounding out the project is Dan Swano (Nightingale/Edge Of Sanity) who not only provides crushing guitar riffs but also additional and very necessary growling. According to research this was the band first ever live performance and supposed to be the only one as well for the band was formed as a studio only side project based on the very busy schedules that its members are involved in on a daily basis and while the future might find this to be a different case altogether I am glad that the cameras were on hand to capture this one. The film finds the guys dressed in bloody tatters as the pummel the audience with a very traditional brand of Swedish Death Metal. The sound while different from the USA brand of the stuff is no less heavier or intense and what made this most interesting for me was that it offered the viewer the chance to see these musicians performing outside of the roles that we know them most from. Seeing Akerfeldt with no guitar for example is one thing, and to find him doing nothing but the gut-wrenching soul tortured growls as opposed to any level of melodic singing is the other. It's true that while Opeth offers many levels of heaviness across the board there is much more brutal intensity being brought to the table during "Cancer Of The Soul" and "Eaten". Clearly the bands subject matter is very along the lines of their equally brutal name.

It was also interesting to see Renske, who instead of being up front as a vocalist is instead way back to the rear of the stage by the amps just doing his thing on bass. Of course Swano and Nystrom however are truly forces of head banging guitar fury during the set which seems to be going over like gangbusters based on the frequent pans to the audience. The set also seems to have been done early in the day and this might have been because of the main bands they make up also being featured performers for the show. When one looks at the crowd they can see that they are both wet and some covered in mud so my guess is that a storm had just passed over them or the circle pits found a lot of people doing this in the mud. During the set Akerfeldt periodically engages the crowd who at one point make him ask him if they were yelling "Opeth". I don't think they were but it sounded a little like it under the bone-shattering Metal that the band was doing. While the film is primarily a straight ahead concert film with no fluff or magical visuals to enjoy, we do see a powerful project laying waste to an eager audience and that is truly what Bloodbath seemed to be about. There are some great angles and close-ups but don't expect any bells and whistles during this one. The package also includes an audio CD of the full performance so you can blast this in the car, on your stereo, and even load it up onto your music player of choice. I like when this is packaged together and this one won me over for releasing it in the small square jewel case with a booklet that is loaded with images of the band, bloody stuff everywhere and the bands horrifying lyrics to the bands performance. While the show is listed as that one off that we discussed earlier, it is always possible that the reaction to a particular performance or release can lead to the revisiting of it. Based on this show one can only hope that this is not the last we have seen of this lineup of Bloodbath but if it is at least we have one hell of a souvenir to remember them by.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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