Released: 2011, Violent Journey Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Beer-belly growing and booze-loving Finnish old-school thrashers Bloodride, have finally come to that point during their career when each band member can rightfully say they have accomplished something worthy in their life: The band´s debut album, CROWNED IN HELL, consisting of 9 tracks of straight, aggressive and absolutely 80s reeking thrash metal, has seen the light of the day. About time, might one sarcastically make a tiny note here.
CROWNED IN HELL takes a listener back to the golden 80s both attitude and song-wise; the times when both young and older metalheads proudly wore their denim vests on the top of their leather jackets – covered with self-made band logos and pins, added with rivet and bullet belts – and when everyone felt united by the most aggressive and frenzied sounding underground thrash metal acts that the fertile underground metal scene has on offer at that time. The attitude and determination to belong to one big family, was there. That was also the family where at least 4 out of 5 guys from the Bloodride camp belonged to: wanting to be somebody as a part of bigger entity – drinking beer and listening and head banging 24/7 their Metallicas, Slayers, Testaments, Kreators and stuff.
Over 20 years later – after digging the heck out of their past (and present) idols from their wild and booze-filled teenager years, these once young and relentless metal lads have gone through their own golden period of transition of the past musical influences – sort of drawing out the best of both worlds into the songs on their debut album. This musical transition of theirs – from young and wild head banging metal fans to old, but still ´hey-our-necks-are-not-stiff-enough-yet´ metal musicians in their own band Bloodride, has pretty well paid off for them when it comes to the songs on CROWNED IN HELL.
CROWNED IN HELL is basically a fair reminiscence of early 80s thrash metal records – from KILL 'EM ALL to SHOW NO MERCY to THE LEGACY to so many other thrash metal album that were released within the 80s period of thrash. The 80s spirit and vibe are greatly present on this record, making many of us old metal farts feel younger and smiling due to these precious past times. For most of the time the Bloodride guys push their pedal tightly to the metal, truly thrashing their old-school spirited hearts out in tracks like “March of the Dead”, “Straight from Hell”, “Slave of Evil” and “Thrown into Darkness (Unholy War)” – filling the songs up with always so cool gang shouts, ferocious riffing, quick solo outbursts and stuff. They keep it simple and it works – as it worked for many other thrash acts in the past. They can also do their more mid-tempo-ish stuff well (“Cain” and “God”), in which the guitar duo Teemu and Niko are able to kick in some really enjoyable and downright heavy guitar parts after the fashion of Gary Holt, James Hetfield, Mille Petrozza and such wicked 6-string demons. Jykä´s vocals are mainly narrowed down to throat-y semi-growls that have a slightly dangerous tendency get a bit monotonous from time to time, but somehow they do work pretty decently for the kind of stuff Bloodride does – maintaining the intensity and credibility of their brutal and straightforward thrash manifesto very nicely indeed.
The production on CROWNED IN HELL is clear, crisp and pleasingly heavy enough, nicely supporting Bloodride´s testosterone-steaming and fist-bumping old-school thrash metal for the benefit of theirs. Nice work, guys.