BLOODBATH “Survival of the Sickest”
By Dr. Abner Mality
BLOODBATH is ever-changing yet never-changing at the same time. The lineup shifts with every album, the labels change, but the commitment to straight-forward old school death metal is a constant. When these guys got their start, there were very few bands treading that blood-soaked ground, so the arrival of BLOODBATH was a welcome sight. Now in 2022, bands worshiping the elder gods of death are crawling out of the woodwork at a frantic pace, almost to the point where we have as many bands as the great days of the early 90’s.
“Survival of the Sickest” continues in solid BLOODBATH tradition and will surprise no one. The sound is still firmly rooted in Swedish DM tradition, but this time around, the pace seems to be a bit quicker and there’s more of an English/American flavor, best heard on “Putrefying Corpse” and “Born Infernal”. The great Nick Holmes is still here and sounding gruesome as ever on lead vocals. I’m never 100% sure whether he or Mikael Akerfeldt is the best growler...both are among the best ever at this gruesome trade. The new boy on the (chopping) block this time around is guitarist Tomas Akvik from the underrated LIK...he does a workman like job throughout the album.
Really, there is not much to say about “Survival of the Sickest”. I did have a liking for the slightly slower and more ornate tunes “Dead Parade” and “No God Before Me”...the latter song in particular has some great gloomy vocal touches I appreciated. Most of it is just honest, face-melting death metal that is easy to get into...no tech-death or dissonant touches in sight. If that’s what you’re looking for, you can’t really go wrong with this.