I’m not really sure what the arrow of Satan is or if he had a bow to shoot it, but we’ve been surprised with another Bloodbath disc and I’m not complaining about that, or am I? Look, I’m not the biggest fan of Nick Holmes being in Bloodbath, even though I have immensely (and this is an understatement) loved his work in Paradise Lost, especially on A Symbol Of Life which I’ve played dozens of times throughout my life.
However, despite his excellent work in Gothic (one of the best damn death metal albums of all time) I’m just not hearing such an example of greatness here. I didn’t like Grand Morbid Funeral because of the vocal performance, but this record sees Holmes in a much stronger place. He feels like he’s gotten the feel for Bloodbath and death metal in general again, considering the way of Paradise Lost’s previous recording, Medusa. However, there are a few enjoyable cuts on here, mainly “Levitator” and groovy closing note, “Chainsaw Lullaby.” I have to admit that I vastly prefer the slow kills on this album, as Bloodbath seem to be going just too damn fast for me on several cuts, which has been an issue for me since The Fathomless Mastery. It’s great to hear chunky death with an added touch of black metal tremolo as well, like featured on “Deader.” But to be honest, none of this truly coming off as memorable as Nightmares Made Flesh. It isn’t that these Swedish veterans aren’t trying, it is that they’ve already hit their peak a few albums ago and I actually wouldn’t have expected them to keep going. A few years back, when I would hear that Bloodbath were creating a new album I’d be quite excited, but that excitement has been replaced with a look of confusion, as I just can’t imagine why they’d want to keep going after making what I felt were so many missteps.
In the end, The Arrow Of Satan Is Drawn might be a solid little slab of death, but there are lesser known death metal bands in the Swedish and US scenes that have already created efforts that wipe the floor with it. If you love classic death metal, you’ll find some things to like about this one; but it won’t end up a mainstay in your disc player. Even so, I have to give credit where credit is due and will give the disc a few more points due to the sheer fact that it is a slow kill this time around and actually managed to gel with me after the third listen. I just can’t remember anything other than “Levitator” and “Chainsaw Lullaby” which seems to be my main qualm with the release. I wish the disc was a little bit more memorable in retrospect, but if you’d given this one to me during my younger years, I probably would’ve dug it.
Not terrible, but not exactly impressive. Ah, what the hell – let’s give them another try at making a notable disc. I think Bloodbath still have it in them.
(10 Tracks, 41:00)
Purchase HERE (Amazon)