Germany’s Bloodbeat returns after a five-year absence with their second album Process of Extinction, which sees the death/thrash band also going through some lineup changes. While the combination of those two genres can result in a wide range of metal depending on which elements a band chooses to focus on, Bloodbeat goes for a significant amount of thrash with just the right amount of death metal added in. It’s reminiscent of that fertile period in the 80s where there wasn’t as much separation between the two and groups offered up chunky grooves, speed, and blistering intensity, all of which these guys have no shortage of throughout their sophomore effort.
Opener “Creative Murder” gives you a pretty good idea of the ride you’re in for, as the band wastes no time in offering up blistering tonality that alternates between mid-tempo grooves and bursts of faster shredding. Stylistically it’s sure to bring a slew of different bands to mind that fall somewhere between classic thrash and what would become death metal in the years that followed, with the likes of Slayer, Possessed, and Nuclear Assault being what felt the closest for me. Songs like “Rigor Mortis” and “No Control” showcase some of the best of what Bloodbeat has to offer, as when they go for a concise attack, they really nail it thanks some scorching solos and leads. The production values also work in their favor, as some of the lumbering and heavy bass lines break through the recording while the guitars and drums pummel everything in their path. Process of Extinction is as dark and heavy as one could want, and that adds to the appeal of the album overall. However, despite the punchiness of the songs and tight performances I did find that the material tends to run together, especially when the song lengths start to head past the five-minute mark.
Vocalist/guitarist Jason has a pitch that gives Bloodbeat a bit more distinguishability compared to some of the other death/thrash I’ve heard recently. Rather than going for a standard death metal growl or higher pitched scream, he has a raspier tone that’s somewhere between the two, often starting at a lower range and then heading into some higher registers at key moments. It brings in a bit of a crossover vibe for me, as there’s something about Jason’s approach that has a slight hardcore edge to it along with a little 90s groove metal. This might prove to be an acquired taste for some, as I know thrash fans tend to be fairly particular about how their vocalists sound, but for me it’s a positive element of Bloodbeat’s music as the performance is more varied than is usual for the genre and consistently intense.
There’s quite a bit to like about Bloodbeat’s sophomore effort of sometimes death, mostly thrash. They’re good at consistently pummeling listeners with aggressive and scorching riffs no matter the tempo, and while some moments did blur together the old-school influences meets more modern production values kept me wanting to come back for more. I do think that the sweet spot for these guys is three to four minutes though, as they seem to fall a little into too similar patterns when the songs stretch on for longer than that. But with a few more tweaks, I could see them hitting an even higher level by album number three and they’ll be a band worth watching in the coming years. Process of Extinction is available from Inverse Records.
-Review by Chris Dahlberg
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