Based in Utrecht, Netherlands, Bloodgod started as as a side project in 2011 and include former members of Disquiet, Hymir and Nuestros Derechos. Pseudologia Phantastica was the trio’s debut EP released in 2013. The current line-up is: Daan Douma (guitar, screams and grunts), Frank van Boven (bass, screams and grunts) and Johnny Derechos (drums, spoken words).
Valar Morghulis doesn’t disappoint as it charges ahead. Although this song doesn’t bludgeon at a million miles an hour it still has impact because the trio take their time and everything is balanced (considering their influences this isn’t so difficult). The dual vocal enhances things further, while the pace changes (but only when necessary) – the group have set themselves a standard with this. While this isn’t a difficult song to follow there are some awesome moments: in the final third they launch into hyper-speed Metal mode which even though inevitable completes the song; the verse is classic with variations from the drums and vocal but all measured against the riff in this part of the song. In totality you can’t ask for more from this tune – cliché as it might be it ticks all the boxes for what Bloodgod do and as an opening number. Catharsis is cut from the same cloth (or should that be chain mail?). The style of this song is more towards Kreator but also something of Cannibal Corpse. You pretty much know what you’re going to get when certain comparisons are made and yet there is still the need to listen to what this trio have made of these influences: how they have managed to bring them together creating a well crafted homage to 80s Extreme Metal. In the middle of the breakdown there is a gap which initially you take as the end of the song but then it starts up again: I take this as a way of checking if the listener is taking notice. A nice acoustic intro for Hammerite before setting off with an outstanding riff that grooves along – catchy stuff. This particular number owes more of a debt to Heavy Metal with the addition of some elegant work which lifts this song towards a level above the two previous tracks but without changing the direction or sound of the trio. The considered approach helps to show progress within the EP at the right place and song number three provides the listener with another reason to keep going with this release (if this is their first time of experiencing Bloodgod). While the clichés are still present the group manage to avoid some of the cheesier song-writing errors – obviously a conscious decision which will by itself set them apart from most other groups who follow this sub-genre of Metal. OK, I may have judged too soon as ‘t Schrickelik Tempeest opens with a storm but at least the song is about a storm – in fact, it is “about the violent storm of August 1, 1674 that hit the episcopal cathedral in the band’s home town Utrecht and turned it into ruins” as the press release for this EP states. Accompanying the storm is a solitary guitar playing a melody which could’ve been composed in the 17th century that mutates into a slow paced thrasher – a bit like listening to Kreator at half speed. This track continues in the more sophisticated way that was set by the previous song Hammerite and although it does have more drama it doesn’t quite have the gravitas that the previous tune had – possibly down to the slower speed at which it is performed. The EP is concluded by Satan’s Smile which should have been a song to leave everyone breathless and while the main riff is a stand-out feature the song overall is weak for a finale – also, when you have the EP on repeat the pace of this matches the first song. A little more thought should have gone into this but this is the only thing letting down this release.
There are no surprises on this release with regard to what Bloodgod do, the group themselves acknowledge their musical roots are from the 80s. From this perspective they accomplish what they set out to do while avoiding some song-writing pitfalls (as mentioned earlier) and so they have created something which is very much a quality selection. The only problem is that they don’t push one or two songs by playing them faster because this would give a very striking element to their sound – playing fast is not a sin. I’m hoping the debut album won’t take too long to surface otherwise they missed an opportunity that Catharsis will undeniably give them.
Bloodgod release their second EP keeping hold of the tried and tested approach and yet they have created something which has a spark of creativity that raises them above some classic names.