"Bloodtide Rising" (Pavement Music; 2021)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Bloodtide Rising" begins with a cinematic instrumental piece that sets the atmosphere but in no way prepares you for what's to come. When track two, "As Decreed - The Law of  Vuul Athmar," kicks into full speed at about the 35-second mark with its growling vocals and crushing instruments, you realize you're in for a pummeling ride.

But this album isn't just a blunt instrument, it's got considerable levels of complexity. Combining raging death metal segments with melodic metal, clean vocals and musical instruments you don't usually associate the an extreme music album, "Bloodtide Rising" is a fascinating listen from beginning to end.

Lyrically, the album seems to deal with images of fantasy and science fiction, and the overall feel of the album supports that with epic soundscapes that flow almost cinematically, especially on tracks like "The Red Odyssey," with its movie score slow-burn that could have come out of one of the "Lord of the Rings" movies (and which segues perfectly into the next track, "The Red Odyssey Part 2 - Temple of the Sky."

"Bloodtide Rising" is a big and intense album that fans of heavy music find irresistible.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2021 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.