Bloodbound – Stormborn (AFM Records)

Sunday, 16th November 2014
Rating: 9/10

When a new band wishes to ascend a few rungs up the credibility ladder, it always helps if you have a proven talent in your ranks. Fortunately for Swedish power/heavy metal act Bloodbound, they’ve had ex-Tad Morose singer Urban Breed at a couple of points in their career (debut Noserfatu and third album Tabula Rasa) before he set sail on his own project/solo ventures. Since 2010, they’ve solidified this position through Patrik Johansson, as the latest effort Stormborn is his third record with the sextet in the last 4 years.

Bloodbound continue to straddle that tightrope between conventional heavy metal spit out by Judas Priest and Iron Maiden in their 80’s prime along with a boatload of uplifting power influences that put Helloween and Edguy on top thereafter. As brothers and guitarists Tomas and Henrik Olsson feel just as comfortable reigning in those cultural hooks and twin harmonies as they do ripping out heads down power riffs that raise fists and make heads perpetually windmill, as I’m certain “Nightmares from the Grave” and “Made of Steel” will be two of many Bloodbound numbers on here receiving preferential treatment.

There’s a tongue in cheek aspect that Dream Evil fans will adore as well – be it from the overtly obvious gang choruses (‘We’ll break them all!’ or ‘Satanic Panic’), classical twinges in certain riffs a la Accept, or the semblance of unity between choir background vocals and guitar harmonies for “Seven Hells”, Stormborn is a record that while true to its ideals, has a bit of fun in the power/traditional genre, and that’s more than acceptable when the hooks, melodies, and songs are top-notch.

Even when Patrik rips out Painkiller/Rob Halford screams on the opening verse for “Satanic Panic”, he comes back with something more Tobias Sammet oriented on the double bass anthem “Iron Throne” to prove he can deliver a wide range of emotions in his masterful multi-octave delivery. Add in Fredrik Bergh’s church-tone keyboards (a hint of Powerwolf here) and a fiery devil adorning the cover and you have supreme Euro-metal that should gather most power and traditional fans to their calling.

Stormborn proves Bloodbound is around for the long haul – if you miss the golden years of Nocturnal Rites from 1998-2000, or mead-hall, scream for me heavy metal in general, get this record now.

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