Assembled in 1996 by Mikael (drums) and Joel (guitar), they soon saw the band increase in number and consistence with the addition of Robin (bass and growls), Tommy (guitar) and Glenn (vocals). In the course of time they released the debut demo When the Night Betrays the Light (97), the following demo The Laughter of Destruction (99) and the Skullcrusher EP, featuring their by then present way of playing with certain MERCILESS, MARDUK and NILE influences. 2002 saw the outcome of their debut CD release via Code666: Inhabitants of Dis.
The CD presents BLOODSHED as a Swedish band playing untraditional Swedish Death/ Black metal with own ideas. The opener Death By Hanging is very rhythmical, with a not too blatant, but not that imperceptible Swedish sound. It allows you to identify their Swedish origin (and the weight of the DISSECTION influence on the guitars is significant), but it is not typical and bears elements of many other musical styles. Anyways, when comparing to ‘typical’ Swedish DM, there seems to be a different vocal register in the first part of the song; afterwards, they become more dragged, deep grunted.
This is not a fast track, but guitars seem to play an important role in spreading the message. Just when you thought it would not get heavier than that, the drummer steps on it and the two vocalists perform some form of duet, speeding up, slowing down, speeding up, slowing down. This is certainly a good one (no need to worry, though. You might find it a bit strange at the end of the song, but the CD is not scratched). The following track, Mark of the Cursed is aggressive from the beginning, devastatingly reminding a bit of IMMORTAL’s vocals on an even more DM version.
One of the many occasionally acoustic tracks here is Release, weirdly ‘Viking’ (for the kind of band we are talking about). In this case, this track is an Interlude, as is Deceit, a very very interesting acoustic escapism under the shape of interlude. The song itself, Kiss of Cruelty, starts acoustically only to explode further on, adding a blacker dimension to the music and the general atmosphere.
Dark Trace is the shotgun contrast to the entire acoustic atmosphere, back to a rawer production and swinish grunts, as well as a bloody fast drummer who wreaks havoc upon this mortal coil. It is more Black/ Death in nature. What becomes clear as one listens to the album more often is that the vocal dialogue that pervades it bears many interesting aspects. City of Dis is one of those songs I will probably always bear in mind, at least as far as vocals go. Musically it is a slower form of Black Metal, and the main vocal lines follow DM patterns; only there is a funny Muppet Show~note to the voice every now and then.
The production struck me as very good. Thomas Skogsberg (at the Mighty Sunlight Studio, who has already worked with the likes of ENTOMBED, DISMEMBER, MERCILESS) did a nice job with it, and the band as a whole know what they are up to and about. It was a nice surprise, although I tend to find more and more Swedish DM thingies as I listen to the album more frequently. The fact remains that the blokes know how to play their instruments, presenting a more coherent technical form of DM, with its moments of intensity AND they seem to know how to create dark atmospheres that do not become boring or cliché after a while. This is already a solid basis for the band to go on writing music and performing live.
Bloodshed – Death by Hanging