Bloodlust
At the Devil's Left Hand

 

Amidst the myriad of styles and cross-genre pollination, sometimes it’s nice just to get back to the bare basics of what draws many of us to metal in the first place: speed, aggression and riffs, riffs, riffs. Australia’s Bloodlust keep things lean, mean and appropriately nasty with their violent brand of old school blackened thrash. Led by prolific scene veteran and drummer/vocalist Disaster (Depravity, Impiety, The Furor and numerous others), At the Devil’s Left Hand is the band’s second album, and they deliver the goods like the seasoned vets they are, ripping through a tight, livewire collection of ironclad tunes. What Bloodlust lack in originality they more than compensate with lively exuberance, killer guitar work, and a solid supply of bloodthirsty hooks.

Following a short intro, the title track kicks the album into gear, showcasing the straightforward blueprint of the album. Not to suggest the band is one-dimensional, as the song-writing is generally more inventive and dynamic than typical bands of this ilk, but they also stick quite firmly to their blackened thrash template. Disaster’s rabid snarls and super high energy drumming sets a furious tone, but the excellent contributions from guitar duo Spectre and The General are consistent highlights across the album. Influenced by early thrash and old school black metal as much as classic heavy metal and modern blackened thrash, the duo exhibit a strong grasp of melody and mix up their attack deftly, perhaps best evidenced on the very well structured and dynamic blast of “Death the Conqueror.”

“Freak of the Night” deftly welds elements of thrash, black,, and rampaging traditional metal into an epic composition, defined by its galloping rhythms, scorching leads and ripping old school shred. Cuts like the infectious old school thrash assault of “Deadly Force” and the ferociously heavy stampede of “Wolves of the Warcursed Earth” are stellar examples of Bloodlust honing their song-writing into more concise, violent bursts of concentrated fury. Lengthy closer, “Shadows of the Black Sun” ends the album on a triumphant note and is expertly paced, bolstered by melodic leads, hammering blasts, and pummelling mid-paced groove.

There are a few tracks that stand out amongst the pack, but At the Devil’s Hand is never dull, nor does it ever really lose momentum. Sure a couple of songs are a little long in the tooth and some astute editing would’ve tightened the final package, but generally Bloodlust’s feverish energy and potent delivery is solidly backed by memorable song-writing and catchy hooks. The production also serves the album well, providing an imposing sonic wall. Each instrument is relatively clear, punchy and nicely mixed, while boasting just a hint of modern recording refinement.

Bloodlust is the type of band that could easily slip under the radar and be overlooked for higher profile bands and releases. However, Bloodlust punch above their low profile and the razor sharp execution and catchy song-writing inspires repeat doses of the band’s infectious fun and mayhem. At the Devil’s Left Hand is a quality, underrated release that’s a top notch example of old school blackened thrash that should please avid fans of the style.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
October 19th, 2017

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