Review: Bloodshot Dawn – Demons
Get in here and learn about the album that usurped Archspire‘s throne on Jack Bauer’s album of the year list!
Imagine, you’re driving down the road in your reliable old car, just enjoying the weather. You have your windows down and your music blasting, scaring away countless old ladies and alienating closed-minded lifelovers all over the road. I’m gonna use a Mustang for my example here. Anyway, you’re driving over the speed limit, because you just heard one of your favorite riffs and you can’t help yourself, when all of sudden you hear a low, guttural rumble. “What? I don’t remember this song having guttural vocals at this point,” you think to yourself. That’s when you realize where the sound came from. As you look to your left, you see a brand new Mustang, newest model and everything, its engines making your eardrums throb in aural ecstasy as it passes you by with ease. For a fleeting moment you consider turning around and going to get one for yourself. However, you decide against it, because you aren’t an impulse buyer like Jack Bauer.
As the week goes on you can feel an urge, scratching at the back of your consciousness, nudging you ever so slowly toward making the decision that you avoided the other day. By Thursday even Jack Bauer’s amazing TDT posts (heh, shameleses self-promotion) can’t keep you from focusing on the doubt that is festering inside you. The angel on your shoulder is telling you not to, because your current ride has been so good to you and has never given you any issues. How could you betray that relationship? Then Satan pops up on the other shoulder. “What up man?” he says. “We both know you want it, so why don’t you treat yourself to that sexy piece of machinery?” You start to protest, but he continues, “Think of the horsepower at your fingertips, the torque you could unleash!” By the end of the week you have chosen to do what any good metalhead would do: listen to Satan. Saturday comes around and you pull up to the dealership. Somehow, as if he already knew, a salesman is in your face before you can say “lolbuttz.” “Here for the new Mustang?” he asks rhetorically. There is no point protesting, it’s destiny. A few hours later, you’re cruising down the street in your brand new ride and it feels oh so good. Everything about your previous model has been upgraded to perfection. That speaker that wigged out when a bass drop came? Gone. That damn window that never wanted to roll down on time? Finished. That stank from when that stupid jerk spilled a milkshake? Missing, replaced by that new car smell. You realize how satisfied you are with this purchase, it’s everything you’d hoped for and more.
This is how I feel about the new Bloodshot Dawn album, Demons. I loved their previous self-titled album to death. The whole time leading up to the release of Demons I kept thinking that it would be impossible for me to like it better. I had heard the new single they released and all the fancy new stuff that came with it. Still, I wasn’t sure the album itself would top their self-titled. As the release date drew closer and they released yet another single, I got even more excited. Maybe the hype was real? Eventually, I always ended up thinking, “Nah, no way, it’s just two songs.” I was wrong. Oh man was I wrong. Did I mention I was wrong? Their new album takes everything that was good about their previous effort and amps it up to perfection. Every blast beat amazing, every solo strangely arousing, production that is a thousand times better than before. Demons is the shiny new Mustang that 1ups the previous model in every way and then some.
The riffs that permeate Demons are phenomenal; executed to perfection and catchy as hell. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had one stuck in my head the past few days. Every single time that has happened, I have gone and listened to the album again. That’s right. The ENTIRE album. Not just the song that was stuck in my head. Demons is just that good. It hooks you with the riffs, draws you a bit closer with the drumming and then hits you with a knockout punch when the solos come.
One of my issues with their self-titled debut was that it was really hard to hear the vocals over the rest of the instruments at times. Those production woes are non-existent in Demons. Every single solitary note can be heard perfectly, and the same goes for all the vocals. The production quality is super clear without sounding eerily clean and artificial like a lot of bands these days.
This band has always had amazing solos, and that hasn’t changed. The solos on this album are to die for. As an example, the solo in “The Image Faded” is easily my favorite solo of the year. It just keeps going, even when you think it’s about to stop, widdling in and out of your eardrums, bringing you ever so closer to eargasm. Oh by the way, this solo contains guest appearances from Teemu Mäntysaari (Wintersun), Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry), Chris Amott (Armgeddon, Ex-Arch Enemy), and Andy James. Quite a fuckin’ combo! I think the craziest part about it is that, despite its unusual length, it never feels too long.
There is so much more going on in these songs than most others in the same genre, and yet it all feels at home. That riff you didn’t expect? Totally belongs there. That ridiculous drumming behind the riff? Right at home. I know I’m making this sound like tech-death, but trust me, it is so much more than that. This is genre-defining stuff here. This is Bloodshot Dawn setting the bar sky high. This is Bloodshot Dawn taking their melodeath crown. Take note At the Gates, this is why your new album bores the ever loving crap out of me.
There’s a great amount of variety in this album as well, and every song sounds like its own beast. Yes, every song is a beast, deal with it. This brings me back to the whole not-sure-if-melodeath thing, because honestly, these guys throw so many genres into one song that it feels unfair to lop them in to just one. It’s like they took the technicality of tech-death, the soaring melodies of melodeath, the unbelievably impeccable guitar playing of shred, the riffs of death metal, and the frantic pace of thrash and mashed it all together like some sort of genius musical alchemists. I even heard a bit of deathgrind in the song “Human Void,” which also happens to feature guest vocals from Sven De Caluwé (Aborted).
Lastly, I just want to point out that the album art is awesome. Every time I see it pop up on my screen I smile. I love it. Par Olofsson, you rock.
From the opening riff in “Smoke and Mirrors” to the epic outro of album closer “Demons,” this album will have you headbanging nonstop. This is easily the beast melodeath record I’ve ever heard. Quite frankly, this album takes my breath away. Demons is the shiny new model that everyone needs to pay attention to, by the band that was destined to breathe new life into this stale genre. If I had to pick something to complain about… I’d be a damned liar.