When you listen to some albums, you get the undeniable feeling that the people in the band really — really — love what they’re doing, that they’re in the throes of a fierce enthusiasm for the kind of music they’re making. And when that kind of passion is communicated through the songwriting and the performances, it becomes highly infectious, like the raging fever of a disease. That’s the feeling I got when listening to Bloodstrike’s new album, Execution of Violence — which we’re streaming for you today in advance of its October 13 release by Redefining Darkness Records and Raw Skull Recordz.
In this band’s case, the principal subject of their explosive devotion is Swedish death metal of the old school, an homage to a pantheon that includes such names as Entombed, Grave, Unleashed, and Dismember — though there’s more than a little Bolt Thrower dedication in the music as well. “Explosive” and “infectious” really are the right words for it — or at least two of the right words. Other words include grisly, gruesome, supernatural, and macabre.
It becomes apparent from the very first track that Bloodstrike have all the vital ingredients for this kind of music locked into place — riffs delivered with an absolutely massive chainsawing tone that seems simultaneously to be pulverizing concrete and belching great clouds of toxic fumes; equally potent gut-punching, skull-cracking grooves delivered by a punishing rhythm section; an array of vibrant leads that flicker, slither, wail like a wraith, and vibrate with a poisonous malignancy, but are just as capable at dishing up dismal, queasy melodies that make you think of rotting carcasses that are still moving, just like the worms you can envision wriggling out of all their orifices.
And on top of that arsenal, vocalist Holly Wedell channels her inner ghoul very effectively, emitting ghastly growls and hair-raising shrieks like the mad commander of an undead horde.
But this album succeeds at such a high level for other reasons as well. Each song includes a lot of variety in pacing and rhythm — none of the tracks stick to just one channel all the way through. And so the songs move among titanic, doomed stomps; freight-train chugging; punk-fueled scampering; and all-out, rumbling, juggernaut rampages. At times, there’s something almost stately about the movement and mood of the music, and at other times it’s creepy as hell, or just unabashedly demolishing. And if you don’t get the irresistible urge to headbang somewhere in each track, then you probably had your vertebrae fused at some point in the past.
And now I’ll come back to where I started: There is a ton of infectious energy that lights up these tracks. It’s obvious that these folks know what they’re doing, and are obviously highly skilled at it, but it’s equally evident that they really feel the music. My guess is that it’s as much of a blast for them to do this as it is for us to listen to it.
We asked the band for some thoughts about how the album came about, and we received this comment from guitarist Jeff Alexis (who also recorded the album):
“Coming off In Death We Rot we knew we wanted to take our sound to the next level. We started shopping around for someone to mix the new album well before it was written. We sent out the original tracks from In Death We Rot to about 4 or 5 different producers we knew or had recommendation for. John Bart Van Der Wal (ex-Aborted / current DOOL Bassist) sent us a mix that we instantly liked. He was also just a super rad dude who would talk shop with us and discuss certain mixing styles and just seemed into us and what we’re doing. So when it came time to mix the album we contacted JB and he was in from the start. That process went very smooth as he already knew exactly what we were looking for. I think he only had to make a few minor adjustments from the initial mix he sent us to listen to.
“Next we wanted to make sure we sent the mix out for someone else to master so we could get another set of ears to really hone this album in. And we did just that! We enlisted Dan Swanö (at Unisound AB) to master the tracks. Dan was very approachable and very easy to work with. Obviously he didn’t need any direction from us; he knows exactly how old school death metal should sound. We actually used one of his mixes as a reference for mixing Execution of Violence. He sent us the master and we were blown away. We’re stoked about the way the mix and master turned out and to have these guys help us get there.”
In other news, Bloodstrike will be embarking on a tour in support of the album along with the Brazilian death metal band Forceps, which begins this Friday on the day of the new album’s release. Here’s the poster:
And with that, we hope you enjoy our stream of Execution of Violence. It includes cover art by Andrzej Kuziola, and you can pre-order it via the links below.
Pre-order (CD and digital):
Pre-order (cassette tape):