Bloodway Mapping the Moment 01Not many people know Costin Chioreanu: the musician. Most metalheads know Costin Chioreanu only as: the artist. Having penned some of the best album artwork out there, including covers for bands like At the Gates, Grave, Sigh, Arcturus, and even this new Rendezvous Point promo sitting on my desk (just to name a few). Both faces of Chioreanu hail from Romania, where the musician has participated in numerous bands ranging from sludge, thrash, black, gothic, metalcore, grind, and death metal. Since the artist appears to have quite the workload, it’s not surprising that the musician is an “ex” member of most his musical endeavors. However, the outfit the musician still holds and controls is his own Bloodway. After releasing a five-song EP last year [Sunstone Voyager and the Clandestine Horizon], the musician is back with a debut full-length filled with unsettling avant-garde black metal of a kind that’s so familiar in one respect and so novel in another.

Much like the work of Triptykon, Bloodway‘s Mapping the Moment with the Logic of Dreams is a journey that’s best experienced not only as an auditory art but in conjunction with a visual form as well; in this case, the artwork of Chioreanu. Though the artwork is stationary, the music is quite the opposite. Bloodway mixes blackish riffs, melodic builds, mind-fucking twists and transitions, unsettling whispers, saxophone overlays (courtesy of Sigh‘s Dr. Mikannibal), and emotional mid-tempo plods and clean-guitar leads that submerse you face-first in the muck. Of all its oddities, probably the one thing that will either make or break this release for you will be the vocals. Chioreanu isn’t so much “singing” as uncorking a bottle to relieve the pressure. The pain that comes through his spontaneous screeches are some of the strangest – yet, most believable I’ve ever heard.

After the impending doom of the ninety-second “Seeding Distance,” the album opens with a mix of post-metal (a la The Ocean) that busts open to reveal the anguished determination of “The Transfinite Castaway.” The kind of determination meant to drag you kicking and screaming to a nightmarish island of darkness, where an unearthly gravity pushes on your chest and the ungodly stench of fear and loneliness succeeds the oxygen in your lungs. “Walking Past Near the Lighthouse” (no typos here) and “Early Glade Test Pilot” crush your hopes – and coconut radios – with low, creeping vocals blended with ominous bass leads and the overwhelming atmospheres of hopelessness. “Early Glade Test Pilot,” in particular, creeps along like a tip-toeing boogieman before eventually exploding into the best riff and vocal arrangements of the entire album. For lack of a better word, the “choruses” on this song are nothing short of “catchy,” and the transitions are near-perfect as the entire song syncs from beginning to end.

Bloodway Mapping the Moment 02

With the atmosphere built, numbers like “Mirror Twins” and “A Hallow Bridge” blow you away with their simplicity and captivation. The former is second only to “Early Glade Test Pilot” in memorability, while the latter represents one of the best examples of an instrumental that buries you deeper into the album rather than allow you that sissy-horror-movie moment of relief. Dr. Mikannibal adds her saxophone beauty to the gentleness of the music for a brief instance before unleashing cringing saxy banshee shrieks that are both sultry and disconcerting.

Unfortunately, the direction created by “A Hallow Bridge” and the Dissection-inspired leads and layered vocals of “Garden of Diurnal Fractals” don’t quite carry over into the closing title track, making “Garden of Diurnal Fractals” perhaps a better choice for an album conclusion. And, as stated before, Chioreanu’s vocals are something else. I have grown to love them since receiving this promo but they are simply bizarre. Sadly, many will come out of this experience only remembering how much they disliked the vocals and bypass the creativity of the actual music. Production-wise, you get an offering as impressive as Chioreanu’s artwork. It’s clean, it’s clear, and every detail is meant to make itself present, not when beckoned, but when it feels like revealing itself. This is a huge improvement from last year’s EP and I feel like this is only a teaser of bigger and better things to come.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: I, Voidhanger Records
Websites: bloodway.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/bloodway
Releases Worldwide: September 25th, 2015

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  • Feytalist

    Holy shit. I *knew* about Costin the artist, but I didn’t know I knew. Upon Google pictures-ing his name, a variety of my favourite album art popped up at me. Awesome.

    I’ll be honest, his voice doesn’t do much for me, but the music is interesting enough for a second and third listen.

  • Dr. Scorpion

    I like the vocals. I like scorpions.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Scorpions? you mean AC/DC?

  • Chris

    I made it about about a minute. Music sounds interesting enough, but I can’t get past that horrific screech.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Definitely worth the music.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        It’s not so much the screech, as the monotonous tone of the screech that’s grating, especially given the greatness of the music. In Metal, were used to the vocals becoming like another instrument, enhancing the overall soundscape. Here, it’s more like a clash — an antagonistic rather than an organic relationship.

        And if AMG thinks “that [Timo] Kotipelto sounds like a mouse trapped in a door”, I wonder what he thinks of Chioreanu’s vocals. : )

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          I agree with you that vocals become another instrument and contribute something to the music. For me Chioreanu’s vocals do just that on this release. Not sure how much would be taken away from the music is he didn’t do the vocals.

          I felt like I needed to make a note about his odd vocals but I actually love them.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            Yea, I don’t know. I’ve only given the full album one listen. I know you guys spend a lot more time with albums, so maybe more listens are in order.

            Personally, it seems like a fine line between vocals that work and don’t work for me. I really like the sound of Hail of Bullets, for, example, but I can’t stomach Van Drunen’s vocals. However, I do very much like the lead singer in Horrendous (not sure if it’s Herring or Knox).

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I get that. Personal taste always trumps everything. This album definitely takes a few spins. The first couple times, I got really absorbed in the music and ignored the vocals. Then it all started to click and mesh for me (kinda like how The Ocean’s Pelagial album became better once I heard the vocal version).

          • jageorge72

            Wow….. Martin van Drunen’s vocals are easily my favorite of the genre.

  • Oh damn, sounds like someone is trying to out King the King! But… horribly. Kind of sounds like the System of Down guy, too.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Actually I think the sax in the instrumental tries to out-King the King…

      And don’t you ever mention that band here!

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      One cannon out King the King, this is not a thing

  • Ocean Man

    Strangely after listening to 20 plus of the new releases these past two weeks, thus one is my favorite. I don’t know what that says about me. I find his vocals compelling and effective. Certainly different.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      We get each other. This is a special moment.

      • Get a chat room!

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          It’ll be called “Dr. Grier’s Cool Place Where Only His Bestest Friends Can Hangout”

          And you won’t be invited…

          • You wot m8?

            I like the vocals… Can… Can I come?

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Access granted.

      • Ocean Man

        Very special indeed. I feel gotten.
        ‘The space between us is the shape of this garden!’

  • Pimpolho

    I can’t stop laughing at the vocals. It’s really unfortunate, since the instrumental sounds great. Great review, doc.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Stop laughing!!!!!!!!! And thanks!!!!!!!!!!

      • Pimpolho

        I will give this one a few shots, since you like it. But damn, i’m laughing right now, it reminds me of a Pterodactyl or something.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Just imagine a mighty pterodactyl. That’ll help.

  • You wot m8?

    Okay, this is the weirdest thing I’ve listened to in a long, long time. However, I find myself liking it…

  • aaron bergman

    Teletubbies gone delightfully wrong.

  • Hideous destructor

    Sounds really good. I’m fine with the vocals. I think bands like weakling and Bethlehem have vocals that are potentially more off putting, but I think they add to the uniqueness of the sound and certainly don’t detract from great albums like weakling or SUiZiD.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Brian Johnson joined a black metal band?

  • Gabriel PérezMolphe

    It reminds me of solefald vocals, at first I didn’t liked them, then i get used to them, and then I started liking the vocals.
    P.S.
    Off topic, of the black metal bands you mentioned in your horna review, (specifically, Satanic Warmaster, Horna and Vreid). Could you mention the best album to star with each band?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Hmmmm… For Satanic Warmaster, I would have to go with Carelian Satanist Madness or even the newest album, Fimbulwinter; for Horna, my go-to is Aania yossa (I feel like it’s got everything that Horna is); and for Vreid, many will disagree with me, but I love Milorg (it’s a pretty neat album).

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Really like the vocals on Milorg (and as a bonus, the lyrics are intelligible!).

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          And intelligent! It has a really neat theme running throughout it.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I couldn’t find a stream of Aania yossa on either Rdio or Spotify.
      However, the full album’s available on youtube, though I imagine the
      sound is subpar.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      May I chip in and recommend “Opferblut” from Satanic Warmaster? As for Horna both “Sotahuuto” and “Envaatnags Eflos Solf Esgantaavne” are both great even though they are quite different.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        I agree. Envaatnags is pretty fucking amazing. I guess I like the horror of Aania the best.

  • Dion Ka

    I really like the song you embedded. I am curios about the whole album. I was surprised when i first heard the sort of hardrock/heavy metal vocals to the black metal music but it works for me. Interesting stuff!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Glad you like it. Definitely worth exploring the entire album.

  • One More Thing

    I actually am a bit intrigued by his vocal approach. He has the same raspy sound to his voice that Thomas Lindburg has, only here it sounds like the singing version rather than the extreme version. It has my interest for sure. Good review!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Thanks very much. It is interesting stuff and very cool.

  • Vote for Jeb

    Those vocals really grew on me. Wonderfully bizarre album.

  • Luke_22

    The vocals are indeed on the stranger end of the spectrum but i don’t dislike them. In fact the music and production sounds very well done. I’m going to check this out in full. Good find Doc.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      No problem! Enjoy.

  • Rob

    HOLY LOGO! I like it.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Not sure. I feel it clashes with the rest of the site’s design… and that font. : (

      But, as some have said in the forum, they may just be playing around with the design for now. But then why not just use a sandbox?

      • Rob

        I think I like it because it’s outside the realm of “grrrrr metal!”. It would be easy to cookie cut a logo like that. It doesn’t pigeonhole the aesthetic of the site altogether as stereotypically dour and/or brutal. Plus it pairs well with the “snobbery” tagline. This is more challenging, like metal itself, I guess.

  • Rob

    This is excellent! I love the embedded track. The soloing feels like a great throwback style, reverberated and soaring over the rhythm. That jangly bass rumble is fucking tasty, and the vocals are strange, but they really did grow on me quickly. I’m hooked, I’ll be digging into this for sure.

  • basenjibrian

    The EP is on bandcamp but not this release. However, the EP is pretty cool!

  • basenjibrian

    I’m just not hearing the vocals as particularly offensive or even all THAT odd on the EP. It sounds a lot like Triptykon, but higher in tone.