Reviews roundup – Bloodbound vs. Reverend Freakchild vs. Beachheads
War Of Dragons
Swedish power metal band Bloodbound are back with a new album, ‘War Of Dragons’ and it’s safe to say it’s their most impressive set yet.
They’ve been building up to this for over a decade now, slowly improving upon their sound. But it was when ‘In The Name Of Metal’ arrived in 2012 that you first thought of them as contenders. ‘Stormborn’ consolidated that but this new one should really push them up the power metal league.
It’s chock full of bombastic metal anthems that pull in influences from the likes of Avantasia and Helloween but which remain resolutely Bloodbound. There are plenty of highlights with the title track, the outstanding “Stand And Fight” which could easily end up as the metal anthem of the year and “King Of Swords” which utterly rages.
This should be the album that makes the breakthrough for Bloodbound.
It’s my third encounter with the Reverend Freakchild and nothing much has changed since I said ““if you want to know how to be peculiar, without being shit, then cock an ear to the Reverend Freakchild”.
After his last triple album it’s back to basics now with a normal release. Well, I say normal but this is the Reverend we’re talking about so he’s still got his own idiosyncratic way with the blues.
It’s a mix of covers and originals with his own acoustic blues material sitting happily alongside venerable chestnuts from the likes of Son House, Blind Lemon Jefferson and the Reverend Gary Davis. Of course he’s got a rep for some unusual covers and this time around it’s “Kiss” from the late Prince that gets a Reverend makeover.
This is the blues in as stripped down a format as you could imagine. It’s just the Reverend recorded live in a studio in Portland, Oregon with no overdubs. I could have done without the in between song dialogue but at least they’re isolated tracks which you can strip out for your listening pleasure. That aside, it’s a good one.
Indie rock from Norway, a country more synonymous with all things black and metal. And in fact it turns out that bass player Marvin and guitarist Vidar joined the band recently straight from from Stavanger metallers, Kvelertak.
Beachheads however are very definitely rooted in late eighties / early nineties US indie. That is when they’re being a wee bit fey and paisley pop ala Teenage Fanclub. Add is some right depressing lyrics and you could be at any polytechnic disco in 1992.
Musically they’re all very competent but with vocalist and lyricist, Børild, spending most of his time ruminating over the passing of his father there is little cheer on offer. There are a few decent harmonies and melodies on offer, with the likes of “Break Me Down” and “Give Me Some Love” standing up to repeat plays but I don’t think is really going to make much of a mark.