Visions In Bloodred

Starting with a classic Pinhead quote from the Hellraiser movies, you know exactly what your getting here: pure, unabashed old school death metal. With a guitar tone that mixes Stockholm’s buzz and Sinister’s razor sharp sound as well as dirty, chugging riffs and nary a blastbeat in sight, this is 1992 revisited.

Despite the obvious classic trappings that would have you believe this is a perfect album, it really isn’t, even if it’s satisfying for those craving a sound or time long gone. You see Absorbed are proficient, talented and have released a solid album, but it lacks that certain “it”. Iniquity has “it”, Anata has “it”, Bloodbath has “it”, and even Entombed, Dismember and Grave had “it” back in the day. “It” is just that perfect blend of dynamic songwriting, power, energy and delivery that gives albums an instant impact, and also long lasting gratification. “It” grabs you, throttles you until threads of warm spittle dangling from your blue loping tongue, and still leaves you wanting more.

That’s not to say this is a bad album ‘cos certainly bands like Sinister, Unleashed and many others have released many a quality album have that lacked “it”. Anyway, with some decent songs and a cool production, Absorbed definitely has their head turned back in the past for their influences (complete with 1990 song titles), although I do detect a slight crust/puck slant to some of the riffs. After said Hellraiser sample, Absorbed dives into 11 high octane, but safe and controlled, chugging tracks; I.N.R.I. this is not. “Exile the Breeding Spawn” kicks things off with its Entombed style rolling, rumbling riffing and Dismember style breakdown. Pretty sold opening track – as all openers should be. But then Absorbed display an annoying lack of consistency with the confused “Lost In Human Carnage,” which culls an ’80s US thrash tempo without much flair. But all is forgotten when the very, very “Revel in Flesh” sounding gallop of “Twisted Backwards” belts out its satisfying main riff, and then reverts to pretty nifty breakdown that reminded me of Clandestine without the bottom end. It’s nice to name drop all these great bands, and it should be noted that while Absorbed do sound like a lot of classic death metal, those are only fleeting moments that lurch in and out of some sometimes pretty standard material.

The pace does pick up for the hectic but not hyperfast “World of Dismemberment”; in namesake sounds like Dismember, with its “Dismembered” sounding intro riff. Inconsistency appears again with “Enter the Blood Dominion” by mixing staccato riffs and some chunky bridges. Unfortunately, it al sounds muddled. And so it continues, a couple of good moments intertwined with mostly standards European death metal structures. The instrumental “Back to Infinity” does offer a glimpse of Absorbed in top form, although I haven’t heard this many Hellraiser samples since Grave’s early days. It’s a impressive tracks that twists and turns at every corner from synth backed throwback riffs to more traditional thrash pounding, and the neato riff at 3:33 had me nodding my head with albeit brief satisfaction. The whole thing reminded me a little of Metallica’s heyday when epic, instrumental songs was required listening on any of their early works.

Unfortunately, the rest of Visions In Bloodred never really gets my attention too much for the next four tracks, as they appear to peak with the instrumental. Driller Killer’s death/punk style appears to be a major influence on the quick stab of “Foul Worlds Decay”, but other than that “Fleshpile”, “Regulate the Killings” and the title track did little to stir my musical loins. Other than the lack of musical consistency, the only other real gripe I have is the vocalist, Jim, who really doesn’t have the throat suited for guttural death metal, and his simple thrashy rasp, doesn’t convey any real sense of menace or power. The guitars of Jeroen and Ferdy are minimalist, despite their Sinister-like tone, they are never as complex or twisted as their countrymates. Visions In Bloodred is a solid, if unspectacular album, that even despite the resurgence of the genre isn’t really a must own.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 6th, 2003


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