Bloodcross
Gravebound

What do you get when you cross mid-90s Black Metal ie: Dark Funeral, The Abyss, Necrophobic and Dissection with Helloween, and Metallica? The kind of vibe that Bloodcross is laying down on Gravebound.

These unholy Finns are firing on all thrusters with this debut full-length. After releasing the Abysmal Blood Demo in 2021, they (presumably) started working on Gravebound and it apparently took a few years because now this absolutely vicious debut is unleashed upon mankind (thanks to Bolt Thrower for not sending me to jail for using that line.)

While there are some songs that flirt with Death Metal, this is much more than that. The first track “Warbeasts” is going to show you what the fuck is up, with rogue wave riffs and body-crushing blast beats, in between there are galloping Thrash bits that are bookended with more killer blasting. It’s an unrelenting first salvo into the fray. I also hear some Mor Dagor, especially their MK. IV album.

“Nemesis Reborn” is a violent track, as are all the songs on Gravebound. There are parts in the solos where I pick up the ghost of early Helloween in the quick licks being laid down.

There are some serious Necrophobic nods going on in “Beyond Flesh” think Darkside or Womb of Lilith era Necrophobic and you’ll be in the right neighborhood. I love how Bloodcross intertwines the blasts with the thrashy bits, a build-up up and then discharge so to speak.

With seven songs in 38:59 minutes, this is a perfect, bite-sized album. There’s the Cradle of Filth-ish “Pale Avenger” that made me feel “Desire in Violent Overture” all over again. It’s a blizzard of blasting, A. Pahlama – vocals and guitar, has lungs that won’t quit and J. Saarela’s drums are huge and in the fore.

The title track “Gravebound” has some great galloping bits interspersed with some Dissection-style riffing going back and forth between blasts and pummeling Thrash.

The production is stellar and the only gripe is that occasionally the vocals dip below the drums and they’re a wee bit hard to hear, but like I said it’s occasional and doesn’t take anything away from the blistering tracks on display.

“Devil Speed” is track six and from the get go it shreds. Bloodcross seem to like surprises and they throw them at your left and right, one second they’re melodic as fuck, soul-shredding and hell-bent on the next… all in the same five-minute song!

The final track “Howling Spirits” is the longest, clocking in at a respectable 7:39 minutes. It’s here that Bloodcross lets its talent shine. They put everything into this final boss, even some neoclassical Yngwie Malmsteen licks that are phenomenal.

I spent a lot of time with Gravebound, and Bloodcross became another band that I’ll be watching for in the future. If you like those bands I’ve mentioned in the four walls of this review, then you’re going to be quite happy with Bloodcross.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jeremy Beck
July 5th, 2024

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