Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Archives of the Dead part IV… Bloodstone – Hour of the Gate

Archives of the Dead part IV… Bloodstone – Hour of the Gate (demo 1995)
Line up: Svante Friberg (bass), Mats Wikberg (drums), Michael Samuelsson (guitars), Damien Hess (vocals)
Recorded and mixed at Sunlight Studio by Tomas Skogsberg, Fred Estby and Anders Lindström, in October 1995.
I must admit that until recently I only knew Bloodstone by the name, but never had a chance to hear any music. And everything I knew about this Swedish band was what I could find either on Metal Archives or what I have read about them in books “Swedish Death Metal” and “Encyclopedia of Svensk Döds Metal”. So, yeah, my knowledge was not too impressive, but luckily recently I got a chance to listen to one demo of Bloodstone (on mp3, yeah, what a poser I am!) and I must say that I feel so impressed that I just need to share my feelings with you all, who are reading these words. Definitely I must say that Bloodstone and their “Hour of the Gate” demo belongs to the best Swedish demos from the early 90’s, but unfortunately it seems like at the same time Bloodstone belongs also to the most underestimated and unknown bands from this scene – what fuckin sucks, especially if you consider how awesome was their music!
I’m not gonna bore you with historical details about Bloodstone; the most important is that the band is from Sweden, formed in 1990, it shared a member with Cauterizer (Michael Samuelsson), while Mats Wikberg later has been a member of Face of Evil (awesome, but very forgotten black / thrash metal band!)... and that Bloodstone, before splitting up in 1996 released only two demos: “Branded at the Threshold of the Damned” in 1994 and “Hour of the Gate” in 1995. Now, talking about the second of these two recordings; it contains four songs, with 22 minutes of music. And style wise it is something what just hooked me up and crushed instantly. Imagine if Bloodstone was a band hugely influenced by the early Slayer, from “Hell Awaits” and “Show No Mercy” – and you can hear that in many riffs, with the difference that Bloodstone plays way faster, more brutal and has harsh, screaming vocals. Then imagine if Bloodstone had also been very similar to the great trio of Swedish bands: Dissection, Unanimated and Necrophobic; but again with the difference that Bloodstone seems to be less melodic, sometimes again faster and again even more straight forward. Take all these bands together and you’ll have “Hour of the Gate”. And I swear that this demo is just damn excellent. I love every aspect of it – starting with the killer riffs and great vocals, plus totally fantastic arrangements and lengthy songs, which keep you interested all the way through to their ending part… And finishing off with just flawless production; the sound is not too clean, but slightly raw, what suits the music perfectly and definitely it doesn’t weaken it with any soft elements. The whole “Hour of the Gate” is just like a maelstrom of aggression and pure death / thrash / black metal ferocity. And I love it.
None of the songs on “Hour of the Gate” are weak; what’s more, there’s not even a single moment, which I wouldn’t like. The whole demo is just perfect for me and I keep listening to it with maniacal frequency. Again I can only guess why didn’t this band go anywhere further with their music and split up so early? And why haven’t I heard their music before? Ufff… “Hour of the Gate” demo has been re-released with “Branded at the Threshold of the Damned” on both CD and LP and this vinyl version (released by Blood Harvest) is now on top of my want list. I must have it. And I am sure I’ll be back with another review of Bloodstone, once I put my hands on this piece of black wax.
Final rate: 95/100

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