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Monday, December 5, 2022

Review: Bloodbound – Creatures of the Dark Realm

Label: AFM Records

Date: May 28th, 2021

This review might have been written a long time ago, but, you can agree or disagree, there is a huge difference between listening to digital promo on your computer and CD.

“Creatures of the Dark Realm” had to cross through long road from Germany to Serbia. The epic journey lasted around two months. From the pre-order, over shipping, taxes, customs, to taking blood type in the post office because no one ever could read my name properly in Serbia and God forbid to write it correctly, and opening a package at a nearby passage next to a stinking stray dog… Did I mention some surreal taxes for opening the package, checking is it really what is written inside and so on? This was the most expensive album I have ever bought! If there was an easier way to get it, I supposed I wouldn’t be a fanatic, right?

Bloodbound started their journey in 2005. I never believed I would become one of the greatest fans, but they bought me in 2009 when they played in Belgrade with Hammer Fall. The rest is my personal history. Since 2005, when the band hit their debut album “Nosferatu” till 2021 and “Creatures of the Dark Realm” (is it already 16 years?) the band changed a lot. I already wrote once, and now I will plagiarize myself if it is even possible: “While their early work is based on darker themes, at some point of Bloodbound career, “Nosferatu” is retired, dark lyrics are replaced with fantasy, in this case dragons.”

Therefore, the history of the band can definitely be divided into two phases: dark and bright, depressive and cheerful, serious and fun (feel free to add what you like). It is interesting that the fans of the band, at least those I know, have a divided opinion: or are supporters of Urban breed or Patrik J. Selleby, no middle ground. Those who love Urban hate Patrik and the opposite. Me? Not shallow minded (with no intent to insult anyone). Sometimes I would rather listen to “Tabula Rasa”, sometimes “War of Dragons”. The same band with different phases in their career, not the first or the last one. So, let’s write a bit about “Creatures of the Dark Realm”, that is why we are here, right?

Twelve songs, great, some might say even too clean production, catchy, melodic, enjoyable; fast drumming, folk hooks, excellent guitar solos and what I always like to point out, keyboards in perfect measure, just enough not to cross the line and go in a sleaze direction.

Bloodbound is swimming in safe waters, and it is quite fine with me. With 42 years on my back and even 32 in metal, I learned a long time ago that you simply can not reinvent the wheel. So, do not look for originality, do not search for the X factor, do not dig trying to find deeper meaning in lyrics. Bloodboound have proven their quality long time ago, so this is an album you can enjoy without looking for a hair in the egg.

The album was announced in January with the lyric video “When Fate is Calling” and it was a perfect invocation. “Creatures Of The Dark Realm” followed in March so it was clear this album would be a masterpiece. The energy pumps your vain, well, ok, not from the start because intro “The Creatures Preludium” is the slow one, as it supposed to be, short piece of music, but from the “Creatures of the Dark Realm” it is clear what Swedes prepared for us. Creatures, ravens, ghosts, demons, goblins, gargoyles… will haunt you through the lyrics, if haunt is the right word, since music is so cheerful so it can hardly be associated with dark realm. Anyway, the melodies will haunt you for sure. The album is full of potential anthems. It is hard to pick up only one song as the album highlight. It seems every song is better than the previous one and it lasts for almost 45 minutes. Bloodbound included once again some Irish folk elements (“Ever Burning Flame”). Patrik once again showed his abilities with the accent on high pitched vocals. The rest of the band also gave their maximum, and the most important, they enjoyed the creative process and obviously the final product.

As far as I am concerned, Bloodbound has found the winning formula. They are creating the finest power metal. In the past, writing the reviews for their albums, I have always had some criticism, but this time all I can say as the conclusion is that I would not change anything. For sure, there have been better albums in Bloodbound’s career, but for some reason this one is the most relaxing for me. In a few words, “Creatures of the Dark Realm” is a happy, enjoyable, relaxing piece of power metal.