Bloodbound - Unholy Cross
AFM Records
Power Metal
11 songs (50:29)
Release year: 2011
Bloodbound, AFM Records
Reviewed by Goat

With new vocalist Patrik Johansson at the helm, these darkness-obsessed Swedes here release album number four, and although I can’t claim to be up to date on their past discography, this is exactly the sort of Edguy-meets-Hammerfall-meets-Sabaton stuff that gets fists pumping in the air. Heavy, crunchy riffing, infectious choruses and a clear and impressive sense of songwriting add up to make Unholy Cross enjoyable without breaking new Power Metal ground. I sometimes think that the high standards we metalheads apply to Death and Black Metal bands when it comes to being progressive (in terms of breaking new ground) shouldn’t apply to Power Metal, although it’s something of an insult to the genre. Bloodbound certainly deserve praise here, although praise limited by several factors, not least the sameyness of their sound. Of the eleven songs here, only one really makes an effort to be very different from the others, and that’s a rather dull ballad. So be sure to go into Unholy Cross with your expectations exactly where they should be, and you’ll find a rewarding album.

The cover art sums it up otherwise, slightly silly but with a sense of bombastic joy that keeps you listening with a smile on your face. Opener Moria has such a familiar melody to it that I’m still not convinced the band haven’t borrowed it from somewhere else, the epic build-up with galloping riffs leading to a gloriously sing-along chorus that sticks in your head long after. Drop The Bomb is more crunchy and ominous, The Ones We Left Behind a little more Avantasia, Reflections Of Evil a little more speed metal. Bloodbound are not going to win any kudos from those minded in avant-garde ways, that’s for sure. Yet all of these songs are flawless in execution, style and musicianship, typical metalhead desires for riffs and solos met with open arms. Important issues of warfare and liberty are simply and pleasingly solved with altogether-now stompers like Together We Fight, and Bloodbound’s historical Iron Maiden obsessions are met with In For The Kill, which could have easily fit on Brave New World or Dance Of Death.

True, by the time you’ve reached the last couple of tracks your interest may be flagging a little, but it’s almost as if they’ve read your mind – the band put their best tracks here, the powerful Message From Hell and more Speed Metal crunch with In The Dead Of Night, before ending with the brilliant title track. Not a great deal more that can be said, really. Bloodbound have made a very good album here, an album that has the essence of Power Metal neatly summarised, an album that does exactly what you want it to. Unholy Cross will please long-term fans of the band as much as newcomers like myself, putting you in that fantasy mood like the best bands in the genre can. If you take anything away from this album apart from the music, it’s the overwhelming desire to play RPGs and watch Game Of Thrones episodes. Which is just as it should be.

Killing Songs :
Moria, Drop The Bomb, In For The Kill, Together We Fight, The Dark Side Of Life, Message From Hell, In The Dead Of Night, Unholy Cross
Goat quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Bloodbound that we have reviewed:
Bloodbound - Tabula Rasa reviewed by Marty and quoted 82 / 100
Bloodbound - Book Of The Dead reviewed by Chris and quoted 94 / 100
Bloodbound - Nosferatu reviewed by Marty and quoted 92 / 100
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