Reviewed: November 2022
Released: 2022, Napalm Records
Reviewer: Demitri Levantis
Like in all music genres a supergroup is an unusual concept. With a band being made up of some of the veteran members of a scene or movement, you’d think that would guarantee some of the finest work of any musical entourage.
However, Sweden’s Bloodbath, composed of members of Opeth, Katatonia, Nifelheim and fronted by Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost fame, is one who’s been on the proverbial fence for me for most of their 24-year career. Everyone knows their classic tune “Eaten” which has closed every time I’ve caught them live, but most of their other tunes haven’t had quite the same staying power for my palate.
Speaking as well as a fan of Paradise Lost, I found the last few releases with Nick at the helm a bit odd as I felt his cynical croon didn’t quite blend well with the rest of the band. However, with the new release “Survival of the Sickest”, the third with Mr Holmes up front, I think the band has finally come into their own with a set of songs that aren’t clunky as I felt they were on 2018’s “The Arrow of Satan is Drawn.”
There is a blend to these tunes which echoes the classic Swedish sound that made most of these blokes famous and some progressions that flows well with Nick’s crooning growl like fresh blood from a newly slit jugular. I was also very happy to hear next to no breakdowns which is the biggest gripe I’ve always had with death metal structures.
Survival of the Sickest is 45 minutes of decent Scandinavian death metal that doesn’t outstay its welcome. I can’t say it’s a mind-blowing release but it has told me that the band can produce a decent album with their current line-up. If you dig tunes that are laden with gory details of death and occultism and which don’t last more than five minutes, then this is the album you should add to your collection.