Angry Metal Industries took a short break this week, which readers probably disliked, but it gave me more time than usual with my next review selection. Unfortunately for me, that time was spent with In the Name of Metal, the fifth album by Swedish traditional/power metallers, Bloodbound. Proving The Law of Dimishing Returns yet again, this is a band that started out strong with three good to very good albums, but started to slide into pablum with 2010s Unholy Cross. The downward trending picks up pace here with no signs of let up. In the Name of Metal is even worse than its predecessor and provides one generic, uninspired anthem to metal after another, with lyrics Manowar would instantly reject for being TOO silly (let that thought sink in for a minute before proceeding). Borrowing the “metal is forever” silliness of acts like Dream Evil and the retro cheese of Hammerfall, Bloodbound manages to find new and impressive ways to embarrass themselves while failing to be as catchy or entertaining as their influences. This is an album overflowing with half-baked, undercooked and stale metal anthems that manage to be dumb and boring in equal measures. While their Nosferatu and Book of the Dead albums had a similar approach at times, it’s so dumbed down here and so simplistic, it just doesn’t work and only a few songs escape the swirling maelstrom of pap and poo which this shit show unleashes upon the masses. What a shame.
Naturally, things open with the monstrous Velveeta of the title track, which is both dumber and less amusing than Dream Evil‘s “The Book of Heavy Metal.” Sure, it sounds like something that could have been written in the 80s, but the utterly insipid lyrics and completely generic delivery submarine the goofy, good timey charm the band intended to provide. Lyrics like “you think I’m ugly, look like a witch, I’ll kick your ass like a pussy-bitch” might have thrilled my metal heart when I was twelve, but now they just make me want to turn the song off and kick a hippie. The one positive is the purebred metal vocals of Patrick Johansson, whose talents are consistently wasted on the songs here, but more on that later.
Ditties like “Metalheads Unite,” “Mr. Darkness” and “Monstermind” are the types of cheesy, idiotic numbers Helloween was penning during their Pink Bubbles Go Ape career suicide phase and they aren’t any better because they appear in 2012. Even the classic Accept-style ohhhh-ohhhhh-ohhhh chanting in “Metalheads Unite” doesn’t trigger any metal nostalgia in Steel Druhm’s I-ruhn heart (of Steel).
Other tracks are less cheesy, but are flat-out dull and uninspired, like “Bonebreaker,” “King of Fallen Grace” and “Black Devil.” These are the kinds of tracks you spin and get no impression from whatsoever and never need to hear again. In a way, these are more troubling than the silly ones, because it seems Bloodbound has run out of ideas and can no longer generate a reaction, even in an old school metal lover like yours truly.
There are only a few worthwhile moments here, including the lively roll and gallop of “When Demons Collide,” which sounds like something off their well done debut with a bit of extra anthemic muscle added in. Also respectable (but not exceptional) are “Son of Babylon” and “I’m Evil,” both of which have decently interesting choruses and mostly refrain from lyrical stupidity.
Despite the poor showing in the writing department, Bloodbound is comprised of talented chaps. While he’s no match for the dearly missed talents of Urban Breed, Patrik Johanss0n is a talented vocalist with classic metal pipes. He can hit those high notes and do the gruff, Accept-style vocals as needed, but also possesses a crisp, clean voice. He isn’t going to blow anyone away with his unique tone or style, but he can sing any kind of metal and sound convincing. He isn’t the issue here and he does what he can with the clunky lyrics and songs he’s given. Tomas Olsson and Henrik Olsson are more than able guitarists and they show their abilities during the solos. However, more often than not on In the Name of Metal, they employ such stale, done-to-death riffs, it becomes nearly impossible to remain locked in and engaged as the album goes along. Its all so dull and generic, it makes my eyes glaze over.
The killer issue here is the inability to write consistently catchy, entertaining music. I know they were going for a “fun” throwback style here, but it isn’t fun about 85% of the time and when it manages to find some life, its a half-life at best. There isn’t one song here I need to keep in my archives or ever hear again. Considering how much I liked their early output, this is a really big let down.
In a month overflowing with quality power metal, I can’t think of any reason to waste time on this thing. It fails in just about every category and offers roughly the same amount of entertainiment value as painting a wall with five coats of off-white paint. I even hate the album cover. Dull, insipid and silly is no way to go through life son. In the Name of Metal, my steely ass!