Blood Label

Skeletons

Written by: BW on 02/02/2014 21:10:23

Blood Label, as the band they are now, have been around for about 5 years, but delve deeper into the past and you can see that most of them have been a musical unit for nearly 10 years in the form of Afskum. It beggars belief however that "Skeletons" is their first major album release since their inception, as the only other offerings have been in the form of the self-titled and "Existence Expires" EPs (released in 2010 and 2011 respectively)

Looking at their newest release, it looks like there is a continuation of that Slayer style guitar work combined with some scram vocals to create a high octane attack of the senses, which is brought in after a false sense of security via the opening track, “Deliver Me From Evil”. It has an atmosphere building start, like “Raining Blood” from the aforementioned Slayer, before kicking in with an almighty howl from vocalist Kenneth Klitte Jensen. The first song isn’t 100 miles an hour, but you can get that sense of power and drive, not only from the voice work, but the strong guitar chords and slow, slamming drums, and it forms into a solid start for the album.

“Snake in the Grass” almost has a pre-Jason Newsted era Metallica feel to it with the chord work at the start, but after about 30 seconds you get back into that ferocity you associate with Blood Label. The double kick work from Bastian Thasgaard is particularly impressive here, hitting that bass drum at 100 miles an hour, and it fairly delivers a big hitting track.

As "Skeletons" continues, you still get an overwhelming sense of grabbing your headphones for dear life as the angry instrument playing and seething vocals bombard you in a good, reassuring metal way that only this style can. The nicest form of brutal shows as you progress, in particular with “Paranoia” which just beats your ears to an absolute pulp, yet leaves you demanding it to be turned up higher. To me, the key secret of albums like this are the riffs, as they need to be full of life and leave you with that desire to bang your head as if your life depended on it. Blood Label do have those moments mixed in with the sheer velocity of the 90’s golden era of thrash, with “Bad Blood” being that prime example of all the ingredients mixing well.

“Stuck In Limbo” is the only weak chain in an otherwise impenetrable suit of armour. I commend it for being a slower paced song for the album, but when the rest of “Skeletons” is so edge of your seat, it almost feels like it doesn’t quite belong. It isn’t a bad song to be honest, but it just doesn’t feel like it fits with the album roster.

Favourite track has to be “Hell Holds a Place For You” as it combines every element from the above, adds a touch of singing, slower bits in places and a hell of a lot of kick drum to create a fabulously blended tune, so much so I would deem that as a single should there be any track releases. A close second though is the title track “Skeletons” as it is almost like Blood Label putting their slant on some sick Slipknot styled minor chords and producing a decent anthem.

All in all this is a very impressive debut album and will fit in nicely to the Danish Metal scene very well (at least judging from what I’ve heard). My only criticism is that I’d like to see a bit more actual singing, as I feel there is just a bit too much screaming. The blend would just make this album score a little higher in my own opinion, but again this is down to personal preference, so if you love nothing but the verbal screams, add a point on the final score. Other than that the musical part is slick and well polished, with Alex Kjeldsen, Morten Møller and Nicolaj Poulsen representing the string plucking fraternity very well, along with Jensen and Thusgaard to produce a very solid and listenable debut.

7

Download: Hell Holds a Place for You, Skeletons, Paranoia, Deliver Me From Evil
For The Fans Of: Slayer, Slipknot, Trivium, The Ghost Inside
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 17.03.2014
Gateway Music

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