Jul 202020


(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by Forlorn World, the side project of Bloodshot Dawn‘s Josh McMorran.)

I’m a rabid fan of Bloodshot Dawn and have been since their self-titled debut.  I own all their releases physically, I still listen to all three of their albums to date at least once a month, and I think in general, in a current era where melodic death metal has really fallen off the map, they have somehow managed to inject some needed life into an otherwise dormant sub-genre of extreme metal that was beloved by many.  Mostly this was done through an elevation of the technicality of riff writing combined with an EXTREME emphasis on guitar virtuosity.  Their formula works, and it’s some of the most consistently compelling metal you can listen to right now.

I was therefore quite intrigued when I learned that Bloodshot Dawn founder and frontman Josh McMorran was using this quarantine time to record a solo album as kind of an aside to Bloodshot Dawn, maybe to just hone his musical chops a bit more or to prepare for the fourth Bloodshot Dawn album, but I was curious nonetheless.  This project, the subject of today’s review, is called Forlorn World, and I mean… it’s pretty fucking good. Continue reading »

Jul 172020


Let’s deal first with the elephant in the room: Forlorn World is the solo project of Josh McMorran, the principle figure behind the enormously successful UK extreme metal band Bloodshot Dawn. That fact alone will form immediate expectations about the music, even though Bloodshot Dawn‘s path has displayed its own twists and turns from album to album, the latest of which was 2018’s Reanimation.

And the connections to Bloodshot Dawn don’t end there — Bloodshot Dawn guitarist Morgan Reid makes a guest appearance on Forlorn World‘s debut album Umbra, and Bloodshot Dawn bassist Giacomo Gastaldi (also Darkend) also handled the bass on Forlorn World‘s debut.

So, why isn’t Umbra a Bloodshot Dawn album? Continue reading »

Dec 312018


(DGR is actually turning NCS into a coffee table book, but slowly, one day at a time, from now through Friday.)

About halfway through the year I actually thought I was going to make it through the year-end with a solid Top 30 list and nothing more. For a good chunk of the year, 2018 seemed to move in fits and starts — there would be large batches of album releases and then a couple of quiet weeks, then another small collection, and so on. A lot of the more consistent older guard were on something of an “off year” too, so at first I wasn’t expecting to see a large cast of repeats from two years ago making themselves known. I’ve gotten used to a two-to-three year album cycle, so I half-expected stuff to start pointing towards a real loaded front-half of 2019.

But alas, instead the back-half of 2018 turned out to a be a flood. Not just in bands that I’ve consistently enjoyed either, but a whole bunch of new faces that have either been hammering it out over the years and put out some genuine surprises, or people with some absolutely stunning first-time exposures on my end. Not only that, but who would’ve expected an actually pretty solid -core resurgence, with a lot of groups that had thought to hang it up deciding 2018 would be a good year to resurface and put out some stunningly good releases (at least in some cases).

As a result, 2018 proved to be an absolutely massive year. In some ways I think people’s year-end lists are reflecting just how vibrant the year was for our specific subsection of the musical sphere. While people lament that rock ‘n’ roll is dying or has become lame, heavy metal seems perfectly content to just be the constantly angry and forever roiling collective of music — as if it has found a sort of equilibrium in comparison to the mainstream world outside. Which is how you wind up with stupid shit like this, where I once again have FIFTY (warning ahead of time: if you think this introduction is getting verbose, do I have a surprise for you) albums to talk about in wrapping up this tire fire of a year. Continue reading »

Feb 072018


(We present TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by the UK’s Bloodshot Dawn, which was released on January 12, 2018.)


Bloodshot Dawn as a concept was at an existential crossroads after everyone but frontman, founder, and guitarist Josh McMorran left the band. The departure that hurt most, though, was that of lead guitarist and co-writer Benjamin Ellis, who went on to join Scar Symmetry. I would have to imagine that there was some hesitancy on McMorran’s part about continuing on; the lineup, while only two albums old, had already become iconic in the underground, and the sound of Bloodshot Dawn had already established in definitive terms. Combine this with Demons becoming an extremely successful sophomore record that garnered them lots of acclaim, and I think the idea of trying to continue would have been intimidating.

But McMorran, not content to hang it up, decided to push forward. The new lineup now consists of guitarist/vocalist Morgan Reid, bassist Giacomo Gastaldi, and Vader drummer James Stewart. Now, in Reanimation, we have Bloodshot Dawn’s first offering since this new lineup formed, and of course the question is, how does it stack up against the band’s previous output? Continue reading »

Nov 112017


You can go long or you can go short. You can pound your musical erogenous zones or you can shrivel up and go dry from something far outside the rim of your bullseye. You can fragment your mind or feel it coalescing in configurations that become receivers of new visions. Every day there are new opportunities.

I’m speaking of metal, of course. I got doses of all those experiences this week, but bit off almost more than I could chew with this week’s flood of premieres, and got squeezed by my fucking day job on top of that, so I failed to compile a round-up until now, and hence it’s a big one.

Catching up is an impossibility, of course, and this time it happens that my choices (all the way up to the last one) are mainly indulgences in a particular mood rather than my usual effort to throw darts all over the metal dartboard. The one thing I haven’t done is incorporate black metal, because I have tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK column for that.


We’ve been writing about this Greek band for years, beginning with their first single in 2013 and including their second one in 2015, their debut EP released the same year (and reviewed by DGR here), their amazing single and video from last year, “The Rain”, the first single (“Seeds of Deception”0 from their debut album, The Untamed Wilderness, which will be released by Lifeforce Records on November 24th, and the second one (“Shade of the Sun”). And now there’s a third, accompanied by a video. Continue reading »

Oct 272014


Demons, the new second album by Bloodshot Dawn from the UK has now been officially released, and with the release has come a full stream of the album on Bandcamp.

We’ve been singing the praises of this album since the first advance track appeared, culminating in an enthusiastic review of Demons by TheMadIsraeli, who calls it “the pinnacle of what melodic death metal could still strive to be, but seems largely unwilling to be at the moment” and his likely album-of-the-year winner.

But you don’t have to take our word for it — right after the jump you can listen to Demons in its entirety. The album is available on CD at this location (along with related merch), and a digital download can be obtained here: Continue reading »

Oct 202014


You see that guy up there straddling that futuristic city like a colossus, preparing to unleash arcane energies upon its helpless inhabitants? If you want to know what’s going through his head, the answer is a vision of a Bloodshot Dawn and the music on a new album named Demons. The first advance song from the album (“Smoke and Mirrors”) premiered earlier this month, and now a second one is out.

This new one is named ‘The Image Faded”, and holy hell, it features solos from Chris Amott, Per Nilsson, Andy James, and Teemu Mäntysaari, as well as the band’s own hot shit guitar duo of Josh McMorran and Ben Ellis. I don’t think guitars get erections, but if they did, the song would need one of those warnings about seeing a doctor if it lasts for more than four hours. Continue reading »

Oct 132014


(TheMadIsraeli reviews the eagerly awaited second album by Bloodshot Dawn.)

I’ve been anticipating this ever since their debut came out. Bloodshot Dawn’s debut self-titled SAVED melodic death metal for me. It seemed that the only thing you could turn to for truly good melodic death metal was the doom-flavored Daylight Dies/In Mourning stuff. That stuff is excellent, and is one of my favorite musical developments in metal, but there hasn’t really been a champion for fast, aggressive, and riffy melodic death metal to prove it’s not an irrelevant copy-cat circle jerk. Bloodshot Dawn is now that champion.

Of course, I was apprehensive about whether Demons would be able to live up to its predecessor. The self-titled is so well-written and the perfect 50/50 split between melodic death metal and straight death metal that the balance the band established seemed like it would be a very delicate thing to maintain. With their second album, I have to say I think this is my first legit album of the year candidate, and it’s looking likely that it will be my album of the year in a few months time. Continue reading »

Oct 022014


I’m relenting briefly from my self-imposed round-up hiatus to bring you two music videos that appeared today.

The first is from Poland’s Decapitated, for the song “Instinct” from the Blood Mantra album, which is out now from Nuclear Blast.

The second is from the UK’s Bloodshot Dawn. The song is “Smoke and Mirrors” and it will appear on the band’s next album, Demons.

Both videos are after the jump, preceded by a bunch of links. Continue reading »

Aug 132014

I’ve been remiss in posting round-ups of news and new music lately, and I’ve collected quite a large batch of items worth spreading around. As a consequence, I’ve divided the collection into multiple parts that I’m going to dribble out over the course of the day, because what else am I going to do with all this drool? One thing the four items in this Part 1 have in common: Killer cover art. You’ll see.


This UK band’s self-titled 2012 album was one of my favorite releases of that year, and I included the song “Godless” in my list of 2012’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Needless to say, I’ve been eager for the band’s follow-up. They funded its production through a Kickstarter campaign in four days, and yesterday the band revealed a lot more info about it, to wit:

Its name is Demons and it will be released in the UK on October 26. It was was mixed and mastered by Danish engineer Jacob Hansen (Aborted, Amaranthe, Volbeat, Destruction, Epica, Pestilence). It features guest appearances by Sven De Caluwé (Aborted, System Divide), Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry), Teemu Mäntysaari (Wintersun), Andy James (ex-Sacred Mother Tongue), and Chris Amott (Armageddon, ex-Arch Enemy). And as you can see, it features a gob-smacking album cover by the talented Pär Olofsson (click that sucker to make it bigger). I’ll be waiting, eagerly and drooling, for the first advance track…

https://www.facebook.com/BloodshotDawn Continue reading »