Friday, 9 February 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Bleeding Gods, "Dodekathlon"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 12/01/2018
Label: Nuclear Blast

"Dodekathlon" proves to be a good return for one of death metal's more reliable newer performers.

“Dodekathlon” CD//DD//LP track listing

1. Bloodguilt (Nemean Lion)
2. Multiple Decapitation (Lernaean Hydra)             
3. Beloved Artemis (Ceryneian Hind)
4. From Feast To Beast (Erymanthian Boar)
5. Inhuman Humiliation (Augean Stables)                
6. Birds Of Hate (Stymphalian Birds)
7. Savior Of Crete (Cretan Bull)
8. Tyrannical Blood (Mares Of Diomedes)
9. Seeds Of Distrust (Belt Of Hippolyta)
10. Tripled Anger (Cattle Of Geryon)         
11. Hera’s Orchard (Apples Of The Hesperides)
12. Hound Of Hell (Cerberus)

The Review:

Dutch symphonic death metal band Bleeding Gods have opted for the ambitious on the group's new album, with tracks themed around the 12 labors of Hercules, the Greek myth of trials the hero faced in service to King Eurystheus. Spoiler alert if you forgot this from middle-school English class: a bunch of stuff dies and Hercules scores a whole lot of win. It is a fantastic tale for the vehicle of guitarist Ramon Ploeg to delve into. The story has vivid imagery and, of course, imaginative creatures and rivers of gore. "Dodekathlon," the quintet's follow up record to 2014's "Shepherd of Souls," is the fruit of this labor.

As it is, symphonic death metal is a crowded field with many challenges to being distinct. Where Bleeding Gods succeeds is in striking the right atmosphere. From the opener, "Bloodguilt (Nemean Lion)," a lyrically relentless and musically harsh charge headlong into the abyss, Bleeding Gods effortlessly bring in elements of thrash and other subgenres into their dark vision. That driving style is most apparent on "Birds Of Hate (Stymphalian Birds)" and "Seeds Of Distrust (Belt Of Hippolyta)," and it's a bold choice. Yet even on more traditionally symphonic cuts like "Multiple Decapitation (Lernaean Hydra)," Bleeding Gods seems best when it offers an experienced polish to its delivery, while maintaining the intensity and openness of a new act. The results are indeed powerful.

With its new album, Bleeding Gods makes a few lineup changes, most notably Daan Klemann on drums. He takes over for Edwin van den Eeden, best known for his work with Anatomy of I and Calaspia. In addition, Rutger Van Noordenburg replaces Erwin Harreman on guitars. However, the core of Ploeg, vocalist Mark Huisman and bassist Gea Mulder remains intact. The playing is not a major departure from "Shepherd of Souls," though you may catch several stylistic differences on songs like "Tyrannical Blood (Mares Of Diomedes)." Nevertheless, Bleeding Gods stays true to the sound that won over many fans to what it does best.

Where Bleeding Gods does some of its best work is on "Savior Of Crete (Cretan Bull)," which has a familiar ascension that showcases some stellar power chords. "From Feast To Beast (Erymanthian Boar)" also kicks off with a methodical build and becomes a rambunctious orchestra of drums, bass and riffs. In all, "Dodekathlon" proves to be a good return for one of death metal's more reliable newer performers.

"Dodekathlon" is available here

Band info: facebook