Navigate: main >> reviews
F U L L . R E V I E W S



Bloodbath
The Fathomless Mastery

Company: Peaceville
Release: 2008
Genre: Death
Reviewer: Raising Iron

  • A damn fine piece of modern death metal



  • After a lot of hype, a second (ever!) live performance (wish I coulda been there!), and a nice four song EP teaser earlier this summer, Bloodbath have finally opened the elevator doors at the Overlook Hotel to give us The Fathomless Mastery (that's a "The Shining" movie reference for you youngins out there).

    Turns out Unblessing the Purity, being the EP referenced earlier, was an accurate hint as to what to expect with this full-length. I gotta say initially I was a bit torn with this one. Bloodbath is supposed to be all about old school, unadulterated, Swedish death metal, and The Fathomless Mastery is and isn't.

    For those not in the know, Bloodbath is a "side-project" made up of members from other, more famous Swedish bands. Mikael Akerfeldt from Opeth is on vox, Anders Nystrom and Jonas Renske from Katatonia are on guitar and bass respectively, Martin Axenrot from Opeth (and Witchery, as well as a half dozen other not-so-famous bands) is on drums, and a relatively unknown second guitarist by the name of Per Erickson rounds out the group. The conundrum many will face here is that Dan Swano is no longer a force in the group. His exit seems to have resulted in a loss of that rough-shod, old school edge that was found on earlier outings Resurrection Through Carnage and Nightmares Made Flesh. Production here is quite creamy smooth, and a perfect mix gives enough room for all the instruments to breathe despite the ferocious speeds at which they progress at times. This is one thing that will bother the purists, longing for the days of Dismember's Everflowing Stream and Entombed's Left Hand Path. That's why these guys started this in the first place, right? To resurrect the early sound of Sweden's most traditional and brutal death metal giants? Well, that's not all; astute listeners of the genre will find that light shades of progressive death have crept into this release, as well as technical death. This isn't really a surprise given the current cast, whose respective bands were all begun with intentions to build upon and expand the early death metal sound, and without Dan Swano (who was a force at the forefront of the initial Swedish death metal sound with bands like Pan-Thy-Monium and Edge of Sanity) to keep Bloodbath more grounded in the traditional sound, they've naturally injected into this release their writing personalities.

    So, have all these gripes left The Fathomless Mastery a mere, coagulated mess? I'd have to say a resounding "no" is in order. Judging this album on its own merits, for what it is, without knowledge or deference given to the players and where they come from, it's a damn fine piece of modern death metal. Hell, many would be hailing and revering this release if it was done by an "original" or "unknown" group of players who founded and built this band as their mainstay. But such is not the case, and granted, these guys have always said Bloodbath is here just to give nods to the old school.

    Therefore, this one will probably be divisive for the die-hards. Look, overall, the riffs are intriguing and enjoyably head-bangable, Akerfeldt's death vocals are perfect, nary a clean one to be found anywhere, the drumming is stellar with plenty of blast-beats, rolls, and fills, and just enough intrigue lies in the compositional segues to keep one interested. Take it for what it is, you can't always have your raw flesh and eat it too!


    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: BLOODBATH
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Breeding Death/Resurrection Through CarnageBloodbath
    2000
    Anthony Burke10/15/2003
    Grand Morbid FuneralBloodbath
    2014
    Greg Watson12/3/2014
    Nightmares Made FleshBloodbath
    2004
    Gregory Maupin4/14/2005
    The Fathomless MasteryBloodbath
    2008
    Raising Iron11/29/2008


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: BLOODBATH
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    The Fathomless MasteryBloodbath
    2008
    Greg Watson7/9/2010


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: BLOODBATH
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


    YOU MAY ALSO LIKE THESE DEATH STYLED RELEASES:


    << back >>






    ERIC COMPTON PICKS
    Alpha Tiger
    Man or Machine
    Anima Morte
    Upon Darkened Stains
    Ozzy Osbourne
    Scream
    Cauldron
    Burning Fortune
    Kreator
    Gods of Violence

    GREG WATSON PICKS
    Forgotten Woods
    As The Wolves Gather+
    Fen
    Carrion Skies
    Amon Amarth
    Deceiver of the Gods
    Delain
    We Are The Others
    Corey Taylor
    America 51

    FRANK HILL PICKS
    Unleash the Archers
    Apex
    Gentlemens Pistols
    S/T
    Unleash the Archers
    Time Stands Still
    Queensryche
    Condition Hüman
    Biomechanical
    Cannabalised

    DAVID LOVELESS PICKS
    Architect
    All Is Not Lost
    Ost Est Ima
    A Few For The Dead
    Marduk
    Frontschwein
    Ulcerate
    The Destroyers Of All
    Retrospective
    Spectrum Of The Green Morning