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Saturday 11 March 2017

Reviews: Bloodbound, Bonafide, Screamer (Reviews By Stief)

Bloodbound: War Of The Dragons (AFM Records)

How I've not heard more of Swedish outfit Bloodbound before now is a shock to my system. Dragons, battles, kings, this album has it all. The intro, A New Era Begins, is a spoken track about, well a new era beginning , foretelling a war of dragons. The use of a Jurassic Park T-Rex roar tops it all off before the real fun begins with Battle In The Sky, a rapid salvo of drumming and riffs, topped with delicious synth. Speaking of which, the use of synths throughout the album is a great touch, but it sometimes feels as if they're drowning out the rest of the music. The entire album is pretty much standard power-metal fare, choirs and deep, foreboding voices punctuate tales of battles with dragons. There are a few slower songs, such as Fallen Heroes, which honestly would not sound out of place on a Sabaton setlist. Pata Johansson's vocals fit perfectly with the bombastic sound of Fredrik Bergh's synths, with Bergh providing backup vocals. The Olsson brothers work brilliantly together on guitars, with Tomas taking the lead with some great solos. This is power metal with genuine passion, and definitely worth a look. 8/10

Bonafide: Flames (Off Yer Rocker Records)

Claiming to be 'Sweden's finest in Low Down, Dirty & Mean Rock´n´Roll' is a pretty confident thing to say, but listening to their 5th album, Flames, you can't help but think Bonafide may have a point. Right from the outset, the band's sound is energetic and you can hear the influence of early American blues ringing throughout the album. Opening song Back In The Flames immediately slaps you in the seat of a motorbike doing 100mph down the freeway, and there isn't a rest stop in sight. Stand-out songs include Like It Now, an uplifting toe-tapping tune. The slower Under Your Spell, which closes the album, is a great ballad in the vein of Lynyrd Skynyrd. The amazingly named Pontus Snibb's vocals are perfect for the sound the band put out, like a young Rod Stewart singing proper Rock n' Roll, and the rest of the band work excellently with each other. Great Rock n' Roll you can sit back and listen to or just go crazy with. 8/10

Screamer: Hell Machine (High Roller Records)

Yet another great band from Sweden, Screamer are on their third full length album and it's a cracking one. First off, let's get this out the way, it's hard to listen to heavy metal bands with Screamer's sound without the inevitable comparison to bands like Iron Maiden and the influence is definitely noticeable throughout, but by the gods do Screamer do it well. Andreas Wikström's voice is great, never going beyond it's limits, but the stand-out sound of the album is the dual guitars of Anton Fingal and Dejan Rosic, pumping out those delightful Maiden-esque harmonies and riffs left right and centre. Although very similar to many of the heavy metal acts out there, Screamer are definitely in the top half of them, an extremely enjoyable listen from start to finish. 8/10 

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