Jun 102024

We managed to overlook Abyssal Blood, the first demo of the Finnish heavy metal band Bloodcross, when it landed in 2021. And so their debut album Gravebound is hitting us like an enormous surprise. Maybe that’s for the best, because with Gravebound it feels like Bloodcross have musically found their best selves, with results that really are astonishing.

Whereas Metal-Archives stuck the simple “Black Metal” label on Bloodcross based on that demo, even then it really didn’t completely capture what Bloodcross were doing (something like “blackened melodic thrash” would have been more informative.) But with Gravebound they have more extravagantly and elaborately branched out, not totally forsaking the influence of such bands as Dissection and Necrophobic, but more prominently bringing into play elements of power metal, speed metal, and (for want of a better term) “classic” heavy metal.

Photo Credit: Elsa Wallamo

Personal Records, which will release the new album on July 5th, gave everyone their first preview of Gravebound with the release of the album’s leadoff track, the fittingly named “Warbeasts“. It’s a hell of an opening statement, a wild rush that greets the ears with an electrifying dual-guitar frenzy and drums that go off like bomb-bursts.

Reaching full racing gear, the drums hammer like huge pistons; a glorious solo spirals upward; and the guitars soar toward greater frenzies of ecstatic delirium. Raging howls and rabid screams flesh out these charging warbeasts.

More exhilarating solos lie ahead, along with gut-rumbling bass tumult, neck-snapping drumwork, thrashing chords, and the kind of guitar fireworks across the channels that would light up a night sky like the sudden appearance of a blazing sun.

In one sudden instance, Bloodcross give us Formula One speed, eye-popping technicality, hook-filled riffing, brazen vocal savagery, and sheer heavy-metal glory. “Warbeasts” is such a heart-pounding and head-spinning rush that you might wonder how in the world they’re going to top it with six more songs still to come.

One answer arrives in the title track we’re premiering today, which arrives fifth in the running order. By contrast to “Warbeasts“, Bloodcross launch this one in less frantic fashion, instead creating an experience of epic grandeur shaded with mystery and edged with sorrow. The lead guitar still swirls and glistens, and begins to dart and pulsate, and then Bloodcruss start hammering the listener’s pulse again just in time for snarling vocals to arrive.

But the song’s feeling of sweeping grandeur persists, and so does its feeling of daunting sorrow. The fretwork is electrifying, and so is the soloing, though even the fluid and fire-bright soloing also seems threaded with anguish.

Once again, the rhythm section create earthquakes and punch hard, adding to the song’s heaviness and “muscularity”, but it’s the scale of the melodies and the heartbreak they channel that’s likely to stay with you most strongly after the song ends.

With these two songs, you’ll also see that the music is produced (as it was on Abyssal Blood) with crispness and clarity, all the better to present the glittering brilliance of the guitars and the spine-cracking impact of the percussion, but without detracting from the bone-deep heaviness of the bass.

With these two songs you’ll also see that Bloodcross are excellent songwriters, capable of giving their songs individual “personalities” and distinctive catchiness, and that’s true of the rest of the songs on Gravebound too. For further reference points we’ll share this from the PR materials accompanying the album:

[O]ne could possibly mistake BLOODCROSS for a very young & hungry Children of Bodom, but the band’s late ’90s vibes extend further to such cult names as Swordmaster, Gates of Ishtar, Ablaze My Sorrow, Prophanity, and Raise Hell.

A. Pahlama – vocals and guitar
M. Saarela – guitar
T. Lindqvist – bass
J. Saarela – drums

Personal Records will release Gravebound on CD and digital formats, and they’re available for pre-order now.




  1. Very good. It does remind me of Cilldren of Bodom, but this is slightly darker.

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