Well I’ll be damned…Finland’s Bloodride have finally unleashed their debut album, “Crowned In Hell”, and it’s quite a nice little package of fist-banging thrash metal. I say finally, because Bloodride have been loitering around the scene now for a good ten years. Founded by guitarist, Niko Karppinen, and drummer, Petteri Lammassaari, in 2000 and quickly rounded out by Teemu Vahakangas (guitar), Esa Pennala(bass), and Jyrki Leskinen (vocals); the band has managed to release two demos, an EP, and one 3 song “single” prior to this debut album, though it is with “Crowned In Hell” that the band makes it’s thrash metal statement to the world. The real question is, “should the world care”?
Find out the answer here.
My initial response to Bloodride was very lukewarm. Mind you, I had been jamming the new Havok album all the prior week and after coming off that album’s thrash excellence, it is hard for anything to sound particularly worthy. Having realized this, I decided to put “Crowned In Hell” down and come back to it at a later date when I knew I wouldn’t be biased. It took a couple of weeks, but it was worth it because this time “Crowned In Hell” struck alot bigger chord with me, and my attitude about Bloodride has gone from lukewarm to damn near boiling.
The album starts out with “There Will Be Blood”, a short and simple musical intro that flows seamlessly into the albums first proper track, “March of the Dead”. The two tracks immediately set the tone for the album with their Slayer meets Megadeth played by Destruction style.
“Straight From Hell” and “Slave of Evil” follow with some somewhat standard thrash affairs, but still conjure up quite a decent groove overall, especially the former, with it’s catchy riffs melding with the double bass rolls, providing a nice chug through the later half of the song. The middle of the “Crowned In Hell” is where Bloodride begin to shine. “Cain” starts out with somewhat of a Sodom feel to it yet quickly begins to get stale two minutes in, thankfully the band seems to recognize this as the song begins to really take off when the solo kicks in, followed by an old fashioned ass kicking riff at 2:49 that straight up brings to mind the mighty Deceased. Even Jyrki’s vocals possess that gnarly, gritty, unclean bite that makes King Fowley so adorable to us metalheads. “Demon’s Way” is the highlight of “Crowned In Hell”, the track bristles with energy and toys with an almost death metal asthetic in it’s opening riff. Benediction came to mind during this track, most notedly at 2:41 when Jyrki’s vocals take on a Dave Ingram (Benediction, Bolt Thrower, Downlord) influence and the rythyms and solo just scream dynamics before settling back into a groove that could easily wreck the stoutest of necks.
The albums last three tracks, “God”, “Promised”, and “Thrown Into Darkness (Unholy War)” are all great representations of the oldschool regime meeting the modern edge of thrash metal today, yet doing so in the aforementioned Slayer meets Megadeth played by Destruction style. “Promised” intrigued me quite a bit actually, with just a tinge of an Amon Amarth victorious death vibe creeping out from the thrash Bloodride dishes out, showing that there could be some interesting things awaiting for Bloodride in the future.
All in all, Bloodride have created a damn good thrash album in “Crowned In Hell” that manages to pull out enough dynamics to keep things just fresh enough from falling into the trappings of some of the genre’s pitfalls. My only complaints would be that the material is mostly mid-paced and could benefit from an occassional all out blitzkrieg ripper, and that vocally, Leskinen could benefit Bloodride better with a little more vocal play like “Demon’s Way” shows he is capable of. With this being Bloodride’s debut, and a good deal of the material having been culled from the bands previous demo and EP releases, I am excited for what the band may be able to come up with on their next album with an all fresh take on some new songs. For while “Crowned In Hell” is a recommendable album, they coud very well have a masterpiece next go around.