Bodyfarm – Dreadlord (No Dust Records)Monday, 21st October 2019
Bodyfarm has been slugging it out for years at this point, bringing their version of raging old school death metal worship to the table with consistent success. Coupling with this release was the unfortunate news that guitarist/vocalist Thomas Wouters had left the band following the recording (and sadly lost his battle with cancer afterwards), so this will mark the end of an era for Bodyfarm. But it’s a strong note to go out on.
Just like the band’s previous releases, it’s quite hard to listen to Dreadlord without really getting into it. Bodyfarm knows exactly what buttons to push with the old school death metal, and they really go all in. While the band is full-throttle on the heavy riffs and engaging with blastbeats, there’s a melodic side to the act as well. In fact, it’s their ability to balance the frenetic assault with some moments of melody that really make them one of the genre’s forces to be reckoned with. A song like “The Horseman” is visceral and urgent in all the right ways, but they go the extra mile to ensure there’s a few catchy moments for the listener to catch their breath. The same can be said for the remainder of the material, as it daftly moves between furious rage and moments of melody that feel far stronger than their have the right to be, given their brutality (“Rites of Damnation”). Because of this, Bodyfarm more or less capture your attention and stick with it start to finish, providing something that’s dynamic and true to the old school roots.
It will be intriguing to see where Bodyfarm goes from here. They’ve had some incredible consistency to date, and the tragic loss of Wouters is undoubtedly going to be a tough to surmount. But given their tenacity displayed in the music, they’ll hopefully come out of it with their raw energy still completely intact.