A Different Kind of Hell


Notorious for its violent and bloody past, Chicago is also home to an equally brutal […]
June 20, 2023
Bloodletter - A Different Kind of Hell album cover

Notorious for its violent and bloody past, Chicago is also home to an equally brutal contemporary bunch of vicious beasts, thrashers BLOODLETTER. These heavy-hitters of the NWOTM scene boast over a decade of thrashing to its name, with a clutch of EP's and a few full-lengths, including the upcoming release, "A Different Kind of Hell". Cementing its sound in a mostly Bay-influenced output, with a few hints of the Teutonic undulating the band's aggressive style, BLOODLETTER has never shied away from producing thrash metal that goes beyond the standard formula. These Chicagoans have always incorporated their love of the NWOBHM in their catalogue, and never stray too far from an enticing twin guitar harmony, and equally, their clever fusion of speed metal elements in the band's work has ensured that BLOODLETTER stand out from the crowd. So how does "A Different Kind of Hell" stack up in such a high-quality and highly saturated genre, and how does it compare to its incredible predecessor, "Funeral Hymns"?

First thing's first, this record is what I'd consider 'elevated' thrash. BLOODLETTER's work has always been intelligible with substance, enriched with a melting pot of soundscapes that complement a brand of melodic thrash like no other, and "A Different Kind of Hell" takes this to the next level. Underpinned by the attitude of EXODUS and uncannily like DEATH ANGEL, BLOODLETTER fortifies this infectious thrash style with the epic power tones and breakneck speed of HELLOWEEN and heavy metal oomph of MAIDEN, with a splash of the early blackened style of KREATOR as an undercurrent to the album. With so many sterling influences burning through, it's impossible not to feel the fire in the belly of "A Different Kind of Hell".

In a masterstroke move - something that really sets their style of thrash apart from the rest - BLOODLETTER has taken the latest instalment into the realms of a concept album, focusing on a lone adventurer undertaking a hellish solo journey. This allows the band to breathe and have fun with a comparatively less profound thematic to "Funeral Hymns" - a personal catharsis of mental health struggles - producing a frisson of excitement throughout the entire album. The scorching intro of "The Howling Dead" sets the tone of jugular-slashing, soul-ripping, boisterous thrash in an all-out tachycardic assault showcasing the effortless synergy between Carparelli and Armamentos (the lead harmonies really are a highlight of this release) perfectly, with the rhythm section handling a full-throttle 'do or die' approach. The high-octane speed shifts further in "Blood is Life" after a steadier atmospheric commences, and "Bound and Ravaged" feasts off a napalm-slathered tempo with the vocal style to match. BLOODLETTER doesn't shy from getting its hands dirty with the blackened touch, with "From Hell They Came" offering up a magnificent blast-heavy opener as if splitting open the bowels of hell ready for the incendiary "The Last Tomb", where the leads burn right into your core. And just as your soul is marked, the melodies take a slightly more sinister turn in "His Will be Done" and blistering solos rage with infernal double-bass pelting.

The halfway point of "A Different Kind of Hell" has already shown plenty of range to the heavy artillery of BLOODLETTER, with each element emanating from deep within its soul, executed with every fibre of its being. Undoubtedly, it's fair to say that the band's style is relentless and impassioned, even the shortest track on the album, "Obsidian Offering" packs an evil, weighty punch straight from the heart. Catchy riffs, intoxicating melodies, and anvil-heavy instrumentals fire on all cylinders throughout, especially in "To Darkness Damned" which screeches its fury, switching to a more insidious bass in "Lord of Pain" which throws the hammer of damnation down. In sharp contrast to this flaying beast, "What Lies Beneath" starts with a gentler guitar intro that soars into full-bodied cut with much more instrumental showmanship than any other featured on the album. But it's the black metal aesthetic of "Flesh Turned to Ash", that really dazzles when combined with every nuance you've come to enjoy on the record, bound and wrapped into a seething finale to perfectly bookend a stunning release.

The beating heart of "A Different Kind of Hell" is BLOODLETTER's natural aptitude for boundless sonic exploration, something so organically captured in a thrilling, sincere, and impassioned style of thrash that the band has perfected incredibly, producing a bloodied onslaught of youthful aggression, yet dripping in the finesse of old-school heavy metal. Due for release on July 21st via Wise Blood Records, this is the pinnacle of the NWOTM and a stunner that you don't want to miss.

10 / 10









"A Different Kind of Hell" Track-listing:

1. The Howling Dead
2. Blood is Life
3. Bound and Ravaged
4. From Hell They Came
5. The Last Tomb
6. His Will be Done
7. Obsidian Offering
8. To Darkness Damned
9. Lord of Pain
10. What Lies Beneath
11. Flesh Turned to Ash

Bloodletter Lineup:

Pete Carparelli - Vocals/Guitar
Pat Armamentos - Guitar
Tanner Hudson - Bass
Zach Sutton - Drums

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