Blood Reign

On the path of thrash pioneers who embroidered the primarily rock-derived genre with extra puissance […]
By Vladimir "Abir" Leonov
September 30, 2015
Blood Reign - Trommelfeuer album cover

On the path of thrash pioneers who embroidered the primarily rock-derived genre with extra puissance - to mention SLAYER, the underrated DEMOLITION HAMMER or notably SEPULTURA for the inset of harsh vocals, the Alsaciens of BLOOD REIGN are undoubtedly on a promising stroll as new disciples of the authentic fast-paced thrash fused with the modern trend of Death metal in a fairly win-win pact.

Bellicose-themed metal already unveils a mindset definitely worth to dig deep into, regardless of the listener's penchant be it either towards purposeful music or l'art pour l'art. Certes, BLOOD REIGN aren't the first and will not be the last to tackle warfare issues, but in the meantime the show must go on and the matter has to continue being alluded to in all circumstances, right here right now.

The first thing to veritably grab attention is the vocal performance, pseudo-growls hitting on melodies inspired by early thrash frontmen, yet it feels right about unremarkable if not disposable. Fact is, the band has actually kept vocals to a minimum to focus on their assets not on their loopholes, a wise bet dead sure. Thereupon, it's pure delight to listen to a direct, raw thrash that oddly doesn't give that sense of "vintage". Otherwise, it overall comes off in such a swift and uncomplicated straightforwardness all while now and then absolute heaviness steps in to manifest itself. That said, we cannot assess an out of this world level with rather average solos having for instance the rather underdeveloped tremolo/tremolo bar solos, yet you sense that here we're dealing with decent instrumentists who actually make playing and recording seem a like a naturally comfortable task with the individualization of each instrument on its own as well as the palpable aversion to unreasonable recourse to effects. Consequently, all instruments reach your ears in accurate and clear proportions such as the particularly delightful and ultra fine bass in "Madhouse" where the lead guitarist also managed to get out of the comfort zone and submit a pretty singular solo as a treat.

Over and above, the emphasis may have to be on the songwriting itself. From fact, "Trommelfeuer" - somehow - conveys the general impression of a catalogue of antecedently written riffs collected to be organized into tracks just the way "Crust Jesus Crust" sounds as if - each time - the band members pick some from their purse and add what seems to fit best, thus the track (along with other ones as well ) could have been much better written and exploited to the fullest as the structure was left at a rather prototypical phase, not that igniting but still a thrill to listen to. Same with "Blood Reign Squad" which boasts a sped up tempo, exquisite drums and transitional bars, but every so often falls into the linear and predictable 4/4. And for real, it makes me itch to see a band with such unspoken potential playing it safe while they have what it takes to take off miles farther. This manifests itself well through a track like "March Or Die" estimably a filler with entire riffs better skipped or filled with vocals, but a highlight drum track with accordingly tailored vocals also much better fit for the album belligerent theme. Again, kudos for the drums as an effective tool to add a contrast to the basic - but genuinely prime- thrash tremolo of "Killed With No Reason" brought to another level by the elaborate double bass drum kicks which, coupled with intensive crashes, have transformed "God Of War" into a particular headbang folly. With its excellent solo and unpredicted bass arpeggio, the latter mentioned track further attests that the last titles of the album tracklist outperform by far the first ones, not a heaviness matter as much as it's about more juggling with riffs as well as a patent willing to experiment. Since in effect, while the first few tracks come off as one and the same and thus might induce the speculation you've already got the big picture and won't expect anything new, tracks like "Tsar Bomba" flow much more compellingly through atypical riffs compared to the usual taste of the band as well as the way they are inserted and linked to the rest of the skeleton in what vouches for tremendous stamina and dedication. And to leave the best for last, the instrumental "No Man's Land" crops up into, as an ear candy Cliff Birton styled bass leads a progressive-like song body through a chef- d'oeuvre from start to end.

Wherefore, "Trommelfeuer" shall be considered a pattern to build on, not the definitive signature of the band. In this fashion, along with the advantage of the Death/thrash blend as a naturally fertile field to move and groove, perhaps the most important asset of BLOOD REIGN is an undoubtedly tangible potential to evolve and expand in the eventual next releases, something which they even managed to achieve within the frame of one same album. In the interim, the name BLOOD REIGN won't easily pass unrecalled!

6 / 10

Had Potential

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"Trommelfeuer" Track-listing:
  1. Buried Alive
  2. Trommelfeuer
  3. Madhouse
  4. Killed With No Reason
  5. Crust Jesus Crust
  6. Blood Reign Squad
  7. Tsar Bomba
  8. No Man's Land
  9. God Of War
  10. March Or Die
Blood Reign Lineup:

Arnold - Guitar
Ludovic Bingler - Vocals, Bass
Thomas Bleyer - Guitar
Thomas Nativo - Drums

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