Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Bloodbath - The Fathomless Mastery

BLOODBATH - The Fathomless Mastery (PEACEVILLE Records CD 2008)
I remember that when I bought "The Fathomless Mastery" shortly after its release, I was quite disappointed with this album. And when I look at some old reviews of it, I can see that I wasn't alone on this opinion. I don't know what others didn't like about it, personally I just expected to get another pure Swedish death metal beast, with hooky songs like "Eaten", which would rip my guts out and make me bang my head until I pass out with no strength left. "The Fathomless Mastery" didn't deliver me that. But I haven't listened to this album in few years and when I came back to it last week I have to say that I feel like a fool. It may not be my favourite Bloodbath album, but it's damn good anyway! It's brutal! And I like it nowadays! 
Yes, it is different a bit from the earlier works, it definitely feels like the most brutal and pissed off Bloodbath album. That Swedish vibe is rather small and actually it seems like Bloodbath added some US death metal aggression to everything, there are some vicious riffs, which sound a bit like Morbid Angel, with a bit more technical approach sometimes, so definitely it's a small step in another direction for the band. But the result, as I see it nowadays, is great for sure! These changes may have been caused by the change of the second guitarist - Per "Sodomizer" Ericsson came in and Dan Swano left the band - although he wrote just three songs for "The Fathomless Mastery". Anyway, the songwriting is obviously very good. These songs may not be so hooky and instantly memorable anymore, it definitely is not "Nightmares Made Flesh", and that's also because the music is much more brutal. But you can pick up many fantastic riffs or fragments here, many great songs, so it all works damn well. "Mock the Cross" definitely shines out on this album, it probably is one of the best songs that Bloodbath has ever written. Great riffs with that strong Morbid-esque vibe, memorable chorus... and by the way, it's one of Sodomizer's tracks. This song is rather slow paced, maybe even a bit groovy, but "The Fathomless Mastery" is mostly fast, with tracks like "At the Behest of Their Death", which just rips the flesh. Or "Process of Disillumination", with its quite eerie, evil aura and cool mid to fast tempos. The entire album focuses on aggression, brutality, harshness, hardly ever on melodic parts or something like that. And even if one or two filler songs happened, they just don't weaken "The Fathomless Mastery" much and I can live with them. The production is also something I have to mention, because I love it, it's heavy and aggressive, when you play this album loud, then you can really feel how powerful it is.  
Obviously, I have to remind you also that "The Fathomless Mastery" featured again Mikael Akerfeldt, who already participated on the killer "Unblessing the Purity" EP and "The Wacken Carnage" live album, but the previous full length had Peter Tagtgren on vocals. I have to say that Mikael sounds great here. His voice if powerful and nasty, quite unique also, because I don't think there's another growler, who would sound like him. And how blasphemous lyrics he wrote for "The Fathomless...", WOW! Good stuff! 
Standout tracks: "Mock the Cross", "At the Behest of Their Death", "Process of Disillumination", "Hades Rising" 
Final rate: 75/100

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