Written in Blood
Company: Black Lodge
Reviewer: Greg Watson
It has taken nine years for this fifth record to arrive. Raise Hell deliver the goods and then some with 'Written in Blood'. Possessing that aggressive, groovy thrash that made the band so formidable in its early incarnations, the band also add some melody and slow things down a little bit to give the album a real distinct feel and make it a little different from what we have come to expect from thrash bands these days.
"Dr. Death" is the album opener putting a steel-toed boot to your gut right out of the gate. Ripping guitars really highlight this track along with vocalist Jimmy Fjallendahl's barked vocals and piercing screams. "Six Feet Under" is another rip-roaring track that gallops like a thoroughbred on the final leg of the Kentucky Derby. "Fallen Domination" is an all-out classic thrash track with those galloping, staccato guitars, barked vocals and thick rhythmic fills on both drums and bass. "Demon Mind" is a bit of a curveball with the song sounding like yet another traditional thrash track and then all of a sudden the group throw in this very polished chorus with backing vocals and tons of melody. "A Blackened Resurrection" really amps up the melody with a very traditional sounding riff kicking things off before the rhythm sweeps in with an aggressive target. This sound is one that I really like hearing the band delve into and it feels right. Out of all the tracks on the album though, my hands down favorite is "In Cold Blood". It's another deceptive track that starts out with an intro that is slow churning and expectant of a melody laden kick and then the band throws that idea out the window and launchs into a killer riff and the vocals return to their growled, snarled ferocity. As the track proceeds it becomes clear that the focus of the song is just heavy riffing and some great headbanging breakdowns. Fjallendahl's screams on this track are banshee-esque and skin-chillingly awesome.
The in-house production is solid, giving the guitars and drums a really fat, aggressive sound. The vocals are clearly audible and easily understood and the overall mix ties everything up with a nice heavy metal bow. "Written In Blood" is well worth the wait and is definitely a comeback album of sorts for the band. Cheers guys on a killer performance.
About this Writer:Greg Watson
// Greg Watson has been hooked on the loud and heavy sounds since the summer of 1994 when he first heard the opening notes of "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensryche. Since then his tastes have expanded and grown like the ever evolving heavy metal tree of genres. He has been an active member of Maximum Metal off and on for 10 years. In his spare time, Greg enjoys deciding the fate of his loyal subjects in the realm of Skyrim and secretly playing air keyboard to "Separate Ways" by Journey when no one is watching. He currently resides in Roanoke, VA with his wife and his metal wannabe beagle.