Bloody Hell – The Bloodening Review

I’m a simple kind of metal fan. If you title your album “The Bloodening,” I’m going to seize the promo and run off into the night cackling like a crazed seal. Finnish heavy metal act Bloody Hell gave me just such an opportunity with their sophomore opus and I’m truly thankful. I’m less thankful for that eye-scorching poopsicle of an album cover, but you can’t always get what you want. You may get what you need though, if brainless, testosterone-powered 80s metal with both fists in the beer barrel is what you require. Formed by members of Moottörin Jyrinä, which according to the promo package is “a children’s heavy metal band that plays cover songs from classic 1980s heavy metal with child-friendly Finnish language lyrics with an educational tone,”1 Bloody Hell is not out to teach you anything you couldn’t learn from hobo wine and Mötörhead records. This isn’t Sesame Street-core we’re dealing with. In fact, there’s a total absence of educational tones present as the band pummels you with beefy riffs, over-the-top vocals, and lyrics dumber than the average Anvil album. In other words, this shit is big, stupid fun with hooks enough for you and your ne’er-do-well juvenile delinquent pals.

If you can imagine classic Accept jacked to the gills on elephant steroids and bath salts, you can vaguely anticipate what opener “Hangover Rider” sounds like. Starting softly with soothing acoustic strumming, it quickly becomes a brain stomping, kidney punching old school beast, and vocalist Governor Hudson (wut) sounds like a manic mashup of Udo, Lemmy and Ape De Martini (Oz). Heavy riffs pound your cranium and crazed vocals flay your ears, and it’s 100% pure metal fun. I don’t have a lyric sheet, but I swear Governor keeps squawking about northern counties and sausages. Sounds like something unfit for his other project. “Face in Hell” is a powerhouse mid-tempo grinder which batters you with inelegant but memorable riffs and the angry vibe makes you want to punch cars and chew on aluminum foil. “In the Night We Burn” is like a moody, smoldering NWoBHM cut with sharp, hooky riffs and harmonies that reek of 1981 (unwashed denim and Meister Bräu), and it sounds great. These cats know how to write a catchy metal tune, that’s for sure.

Cuts like “Smoking” and Bite” are aggressive, adrenaline-soaked stormers made for the gym, and “Long Road to Hell” feels like a lost Tarot tune, with Governor adopting a very Marco Hietala-like delivery. Though The Bloodening runs just shy of an hour, it certainly doesn’t feel that way. There’s very little in the way of fat or filler to be found, though I suppose “Murders She Wrote” is slightly less hook-tastic than some of the surrounding tracks,2 and weird closer “Kiesma (The Museum of Modern Art)” is too long with too much repetition at 7 minutes. I would still swear this is a 40 minute platter though, and it’s a pleasure to spin in its entirety. Even the insanely stupid lyrics feel so right and I don’t even care when they drop dubious jewels like “No stairway to Heaven only a smelly elevator to Hell,” or “Demanded rights and their equality, gets in the way of my beer.” Ballsy.

Guitarist Esa Orjatsalo, formerly of Euro-power mavens Dreamtale, and Dead Nugent (good one) pilfer the depths of 80s metal to fashion manly, macho riffs and harmonies that are simple, urgent and unstoppable. They aren’t looking to show how technically sound they are, and their commitment to rudimentary slash and burn playing brings to mind brutish, lowbrow acts like Bullet. Governor Hudson’s performance is a case study on overdone metal vocals done right. He’s all in and in it to win it throughout, using a raspy, ragged roar that perfectly suits the material. He can actually sing too, as he demonstrates on occasion to great effect. He definitely has that entertaining “more is MOAR” style down to a weird science. The band is tight and the writing rings trve, and that’s 95% of the battle.

I didn’t expect a helluva lot out of The Bloodening but it ended up a bigtime guilty pleasure. I didn’t learn a damn thing though, as this album gives nothing back to the academic community and provides no public service of any kind. I still had a total blast and if you like your metal loud, proud, and really fucking stupid, you will too. This thing is so bad, it should be in detention.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps Mp3
Label: Rockshots Records
Releases Worldwide: April 30th, 2021

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Which our own TheKenWord dubbed, “The Wiggles, but trve.”
  2. Yet hilariously easy to slip on an assisted living care facility’s soothing day music playlist.
« »