Bloodshot Dawn – ‘Reanimation’ (Hostile Media) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Mark Ashby   
Tuesday, 09 January 2018 04:40

Bloodshot Dawn ReanimationA lot has happened in the Bloodshot Dawn camp in the three-and-a-bit years since the release of their second album, the titanic ‘Demons’ – not the least of which has been a complete change of line-up, with only frontman Josh McMorran left from that which laid down that opus magnificus. Understandably, the departure of the band’s three founding members simultaneously was a shock to the system for McMorran, and it took him some time to recover – and even to decide if he wanted to continue with the band!


But, lo, here we are on the cusp of both a new year and a new era for BD, with the imminent landing of the band’s third album, completed and supported by a new line-up featuring Canadian shredder Morgan Reid, drummer James Stewart (also of Vader and Divine Chaos) and bass player Giacomo Gastaldi, and featuring guest appearances from Jeff Loomis (Arch Enemy, Nevermore), Paul Wardingham, Ken Sorceron (Abigail Williams, The Faceless) and Mendel Bij De Leij (Aborted).


Both their self-titled debut and the aforementioned follow-up established Bloodshot Dawn as one of the most hard-hitting forces in modern British death metal, and, despite the enforced hiatus of recent years, this latest offering has done more than enough to cement that reputation – and, indeed, take it to the next level.


The album sets out its intentions from the very beginning, with a barrage of maniacal drum beats from Stewart and a ferocious onslaught of cascading arpeggios introducing us to the visceral assault of ‘Seared Earth’, a track aptly named as that is the effect it produces, incinerating everything in its path with its primal energy, before McMorran’s acerbic vocal picks up any survivors and flings them straight back into the inferno. Fiery stuff indeed.


‘Graviton Nightmare’, the first of the album’s two six-minute epics (the other being the slightly longer ‘Battle For The Omniverse’) slows the pace down slightly, but this only serves the underlying sense of brooding menace which pervades the opus as a whole, hinting at an almost impenetrable darkness which threatens to engulf both the band and the listener. The density of the underpinning is emphasized by Gastaldi’s thick, meaty bass, which perfectly complements both the bruising backdrop of Stewart (who again re-asserts his claim as one of the most powerful drummers operating in the blackened melo-death sub-genre) and the almost deftly light guitar work of McMorran and Reid, whose riffs, melodies and solos are beautifully crafted throughout.



‘Survival Evolved’ snaps and tears, not least at your neck muscles, with its incessantly ferocious intensity, but even that is a mere prelude for the vicious beatdown that is ‘Upon The Throne Of Fear’, which is delivered at a pace even Lewis Hamilton would envy and will see most ‘bangers struggling to keep up should it feature on their forthcoming tour dates (see below), and features a truly evil vocal performance from McMorran. ‘Controlled Conscious’ drives both the album and its story – that of the alien depicted on the cover art (itself the third in a series of thematically-linked pieces which carries on from the first two albums) approaching a war-torn earth to cleanse the planet of human life and refresh the earth back to its former glory – to its midway point with perhaps its most diverse composition in terms of the juxtaposition of light and dark, melody and riffage, and all with the same unbridled intensity which goes both before and after it.


‘Soul Affliction’ kicks off the second half – or side two, in old money – in much the same way as ‘Seared Earth’ did the first, with a huge drum intro leading into a whiplash-inducing main riff, before McMorran’s vocals go straight for the jugular and bite deep into it; and you’ll not hear a more concrete solid rhythm performance in this or any other metallic sub-genre than you’ll experience here. ‘Shackled’ is built on a massive, rumbling bass riff which is filled with more of that brooding menace which pervades the entire album, topped off by another acidic and powerful vocal and interspersed with those deft guitar shafts that bring valuable light to the proceedings.


And then comes the album’s true epic – the aforementioned ‘Battle For The Omniverse’. Now, if you’re expecting that, over the course of its six-plus minutes it will slowly build, using loads of atmospherics like some piece of proggy nonsense, then you are sorely mistaken. It rips straight into your cranium at a truly ferocious pace, which doesn’t let up for its entire length, with barrages of tautly controlled blastbeats and supersonic solo after supersonic solo, thanks to the contributions of all the virtuoso guests mentioned at the top of this piece. It’s intense, it’s grandiose (in a brutal kind of way) – and it’s fucking brilliant.


‘DNA Reacquisition’ offers the album’s only chance to catch your breath, being as it is a brief (1:39) instrumental before the band pick things straight back up again with the absolutely huge closing title track, which basically encapsulates everything that has gone before, especially in terms of the intensity of the performances, and wraps it all up in once brilliantly neat package, summarizing the band and their abilities in a single masterful performance which will leave you cowering on the floor begging for more.



Just as Bloodshot Dawn’s first two albums in their time set the standard for high quality British death metal, ‘Reanimation’ shows that they are not only living up to its title in terms of the band’s rejuvenation but are setting the bar even higher. The challenge has been laid down: now, let’s see who feels capable of stepping up to the plate…


‘Reanimation’ is released on Friday (12 January). You can get your copy HERE.


As referenced above, Bloodshot Dawn support the album’s release with their first UK and Ireland headline dates in almost two years later this month:


Wednesday 17 – London, Black Heart

Thursday 18 – Brighton, Green Door Store

Friday 19 – Guildford, Boiler Room

Saturday 20 – Plymouth, The Underground

Sunday 21 – Cardiff, Fuel Rock Club

Monday 22 – Birmingham, The Flapper

Tuesday 23 – Glasgow, Audio

Wednesday 24 – York, The Fulford Arms

Thursday 25 – Manchester, The Peer Hat

Friday 26 – Cork, An Spailpin Fanach

Saturday 27 – Belfast - Northern Deathfest

Sunday 28 – Dublin, On The Rox


Support on all dates comes from Reprisal.


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