The Arrow of Satan is Drawn (Peaceville)
By Mike Delano
There’s no “right way” to do death metal. Fast, slow, funny, serious, gritty, polished — as long as your aim is true, the genre has room for every approach. But man, there aren’t many bands out there that sound like they’re having as much fun playing death metal as Bloodbath. Sure, it helps that this supergroup isn’t anyone’s day job — Bloodbath 2018 is made up of Paradise Lost singer Nick Holmes alongside bassist Jonas Renkse and guitarist Anders Nyström (Katatonia), drummer Martin Axenrot (Opeth) and second guitarist Joakim Karlsson (Craft) — but there’s a loose feeling to the band’s fifth album that makes it an energizing listen. Amazingly, the band’s willingness to play around on The Arrow of Satan is Drawn doesn’t do anything to diminish the album’s aggression. The trademark Bloodbath battering ram sound is still intact and as fearsome as ever on tracks like “Bloodicide” and “Deader,” but it’s just as forceful when the band mixes things up, like on the stop/start necro military march of “Only The Dead Survive” or the death ‘n’ roll antics of “Warhead Ritual.” It all culminates in the heavenly “Chainsaw Lullaby,” wherein Holmes gleefully barks out nearly every word in the death metal glossary (“carving, cleaving, chopping, cutting, ripping, slicing, la-cer-a-tion!”) on top of suitably menacing buzzsaw guitars. If only we could all have this much fun at our second jobs.