Blood – Inferno (2017)

Continuing the path of a storied band, Inferno mixes re-recorded versions of older tracks with new material in what seems to be a band redefining itself. Blood started as a grindcore band with more of a death metal attitude, then adopted an outlook closer to black metal for its opus O Agios Pethane, but since then has struggled by being caught in the middle of three genres.

Part of the reason for this suspension derives from the nature of grindcore itself, which reached its peak with the relatively non-political work of bands like Carcass and Bolt Thrower, but then was recaptured by Napalm Death, who following their idols in hardcore including Siege, wanted to make it a forum for political statements, and these statements — which were very similar to what we heard from the EU and US at the time — struck metalheads and older punks as too conformist and untrustworthy.

However, these rewarmed hardcore bands dominated what most people thought of as archetypal grindcore, which left Blood stranded in a political genre writing songs which kept the mythological focus that bands like Slayer and Possessed. While Napalm Death slowly brought more death metal elements into its music in the early to middle 1990s, grindcore all but evaporated as a distinct genre under the massive popularity of Napalm Death, who were not only big in America and the UK but also the wider third world, causing labels to get excited by the prospect of global profit from bands who were preaching straight Communism. The irony did not dent sales.

Although this is an unpopular opinion, Napalm Death reached their peak and most listenable music with Fear, Emptiness, Despair in which they merged their new deathmetal-grindcore hybrid with more melodic influences and dramatic pacing that took the standoffish riot vibe of bands like Pantera, Exhorder, and Prong, and spaced it out, making it seem more grandiloquent and thus uniting it with the emotions expressed in melody.

Blood takes a similar approach here. Instrumentation uses a sparse precision to bring out the dominant rhythms in each song and inflect them with subtleties where possible. This becomes necessary in older songs where once sprawling, loosely-timed guitar riffs are now exact and unyielding. This duality presented the primary challenge to Blood in integrating older material with new.

The newer material, very much in the style of 2003 album Dysangelium, uses rigid riffs in bounding rhythms to create a contrast of inertia and inner struggle, which comes forth as those subtle inflections become foreshadowing for the collision of themes later in the song. These songs cleave more deliberately to consistent principles of construction, which eliminates some of the serendipitous discoveries of Impulse to Destroy but delivers a clearer vision.

Older songs take on a new life as a result, rising from the chaos of grindcore to become more focused compositions like those from Metallica through Morbid Angel, and the morbid darkness of the black metal influence has receded to take place mostly in vocal delivery. The result is more powerful, although sometimes the idiosyncrasies of the past made songs more distinctive.

Inferno shows a band attempting to encompass all of what it has done over nearly thirty years into a style for a new age where metaphor must not simply gesture, but express, a musical and artistic clarity. Simultaneously, the music displays a more militant and technological clarity, which makes it more directly threatening.

To a listener not steeped in Blood and its history, these songs flow together smoothly, which shows the triumph of this approach. Savage vocals, ragged but articulate riffs, and a powerful sense of chorus — more like Sodom on Persecution Mania — dominate this album and give Blood new strength and vitality. It is glorious to see such a storied band coming back with such a strong future outlook.

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43 thoughts on “Blood – Inferno (2017)”

  1. Finnish Death Metal was the pinnacle of death metal says:

    These guys can do no wrong. Interesting point in regards to “o agios pethane” with the comment of it having an outlook closer to black metal.

    1. S.C. says:

      It is an interesting point. I think all of Blood’s early albums cultivated an atmosphere very akin to black metal but the riffs themselves, particularly on O Agios Pethane, are too rhythmic and, for lack of a better word, “groovy” for me to relate them to black metal. But they also kept their music so primitive back then that they harkened back to the times when the lines of black and death metal were vague so from this perspective I can also understand the connection.

  2. Psychic Psych Toad says:

    Why haven’t you reviewed the new Blood album yet? This site is dead, rip dmu…

    1. RIP DMU says:

      Too busy writing SMR and Black Dahlia fanfics

  3. Robert says:

    This is how a DMU article should be written. Take notes, Marmot and the other shitty writers here.

    1. Tito's Pollo says:

      my poop can be used for fertilizer!

      1. Botanist says:

        I can use you as fertilizer.

        1. Tito's Pollo says:

          that too, chum! you’re a quick one!

      2. Robert says:

        Thanks. You do resemble a horse.

  4. Poseurs says:

    I love how everyone is a huge Blood fan now and how “storied” they are when no one gave a shit five or six years ago.

    1. Titus Pullo says:

      Yeah, Brett Stevens was the only guy talking about them for decades.

    2. Anthony says:

      Hey man, I dropped $35.00 on an original O Agios Pethane CD on Discogs back in 2009. Blood fans have always been around, and if more people are finally waking up to Blood’s greatness, that’s a good thing. Hopefully we’ll get a reissue of that Nyctophobic album at some point.

    3. I'm black says:

      My thoughts exactly. Another example of niggaz b sipping on some haterade but then b jockin this site’s shit yo!!!

  5. I Sacrificed My ANUS To Brett Stevens says:

    FINALLY! It’s about time this is reviewed.

  6. 1349 says:

    Surprisingly, the Germans have one decent band.
    Even more surprising is that this band provided the DMU slogan (“Sodomize the weak”).

    1. Death Metal Gear Solid says:

      More surprise and irony: The song from which came those lyrics is a condemnation of greedy capitalists who “sodomize” the everyman. Obviously the fags who follow this site would unquestioningly accept that the statement was intended to elevate or otherwise glorify sodomy.

      1. Rainer Weikusat says:

        More surprise and irony: The song from which came those lyrics is a condemnation of greedy capitalists who “sodomize” the everyman.

        That’s a bit of a ‘daring’ interpretation: It’s more about mocking ‘herd people’ (»weak cattle&;laquo;) who voluntarily flock to some ‘powerful leader’ for ‘protection’ and to save them the hassle of making decisions of their own and then willingly and sheepishly submit to whatever abuse is thrown at them while said ‘powerful leader’ doesn’t even contemplate actually protecting his would-be fosterlings but just considers them stupid, expendable creatures which exist for his own amusement (or whatever else suits him).

    2. Finnish Death Metal was the pinnacle of death metal says:

      forgetting Fleshcrawl…

      There are other bands too that released decent releases.

      1. Big Papa Niggle says:

        Atrocity’s first two. And who could forget… RUNNING FUCKIN WILD

        that’s about it tho

        1. An AIDS patient says:

          Might as well add Bling Guardians stuff up to Nightfall if you’re gonna mention Running Wild, bruh.

      2. 1349 says:

        “forgetting Fleshcrawl”

        A band whose albums one would mention only because they are his friends.

        1. Finnish Death Metal was the pinnacle of death metal says:

          Fleshcrawl’s a good band, that’s why I mentioned them. If you don’t thing “Descend Into the Absurd” or “Impurity” are great releases, you need to clean your ears.

          1. Finnish Death Metal was the pinnacle of death metal says:

            Clean your ears or listen to more underground stuff because EVERYONE in this comment section knows about Fleshcrawl’s debut.

        2. Big Papa Niggle says:

          says the guy who chose a norsecore band as his pseuodonym

          1. 1349 says:

            1349 are effectively speed metal. Yes they’re crap now.

            1. Finnish Death Metal was the pinnacle of death metal says:

              1349 were always crap, and Fleshcrawl was always good.

              1. 1349 says:

                I’ll give your friends’ band another listen.

    3. Trystero says:

      Did you forget about Sodom sweetie?

      1. Finnish Death Metal was the pinnacle of death metal says:

        Sodom isnt death metal

      2. 1349 says:

        Such crap is actually hard to forget.

        …I like an album and a half of Sodom, but it’s not for repeated listens. I’m practically unfamiliar with their earliest material though.

        1. Rainer Weikusat says:

          The original version of In the Sign of Evil ought to be regarded as early black metal classic.

  7. Killer Alien Vagina says:

    Finally a review that does not suck.

    Take notes, Mallrat.

  8. Finnish Death Metal was the pinnacle of death metal says:

    The Chasm released a new album as well that’s an intrumental. Personally I think they tried to do too much in each track. Transitions seemed a bit forced.

  9. Rainer Weikusat says:

    Good stuff (well, minus the guitar solo, that’s a bit “Here I am! The Solo!”). I’d call this ‘black/ death metal’, though, and that’s something DMU usually decries (“war metal” and worse terms, although this one is also applied to a lot of very much different things).

    An explanation what

    subtle inflections become foreshadowing for the collision of themes later in the song.

    actually means based on an example would be nice.

    1. Big Papa Niggle says:

      asking brett to go in to detail is beneath him. if u dont get it your probly a marxist.

      brett, as well as his fuckdaddy crow, are the only valid sources of Objective Truth on the internet. i kno because they said so

      1. Rainer Weikusat says:

        Hmm … in this case, it’s simply ignorance on my part. And I’m always happy to learn something new about things which are of interest to me.

  10. RIP DMU says:

    Welcome home, Brett.

  11. Ohdeebee says:

    {*inhales*} I wanna see blood, whether it’s period blood
    Or bustin your fuckin face, some BLOOD!!!

  12. Attention Defecate Disorder says:

    Looking forward to the best of a miserable year of metal. Outside of Blood, how many bands have delivered the goods? Desecresy? Wulkanaz?

    Great sentence (that RW points out): “The newer material, very much in the style of 2003 album Dysangelium, uses rigid riffs in bounding rhythms to create a contrast of inertia and inner struggle, which comes forth as those subtle inflections become foreshadowing for the collision of themes later in the song.”

    1. Finnish Death Metal was the pinnacle of death metal says:

      Neocaesar a band made up by former Sinister band members released a decent album “11:11”. Granted it isnt as powerfuk as “Cross the Styx” or “Hate”.

  13. Frederick Dinkledick says:

    Is that a penis coming out of the ‘F’?

    Masterful.

    1. Witchskinner says:

      It´s the infamous Penis of Dead, you are right, Dick! AS it was sung in “SODOMIZE THE WEAK” :”No escape from the penis of dead – No hope for all the dead chicks”. Finally we have someone paying attention to detail concerning the cover.

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