From the thuggish brain-smash of opener “Zombie Inferno” to the bleak, obsidian ooze of closer “No God Before Me”, “Survival Of The Sickest” is the sound of a great band in blistering form. In contrast with “The Arrow Of Satan Is Drawn,” which borrowed heavily from the blackened end of the death metal world, the new BLOODBATH goes straight for the jugular in true old school fashion. With strong echoes of everything from Morbid Angel and Death to Deicide and Obituary, songs like the rampaging “Putrefying Corpse”, the disgustingly slow and heavy “Dead Parade”, and the deliciously twisted “Tales Of Melting Flesh” breathe fresh fire into an arcane, perpetually rotting formula.
Formed by Jonas Renkse and Anders Nyström (both of KATATONIA), Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth) and Dan Swanö (Edge Of Sanity) in 1998, BLOODBATH devoted themselves to resurrecting the increasingly forgotten art of pure death metal. In 2014, they unveiled a new front-man – legendary Paradise Lost vocalist Nick Holmes, now redubbed Old Nick – and yet another macabre musical evolution. With this new line-up, the only way to go was grim. On “Survival Of The Sickest”, BLOODBATH evoke their most horrifying sonic scenarios to date, from the death-by-munching nightmare of “Malignant Maggot Therapy”, to the murderous nihilism of “Affliction Of Extinction”. A glorious comeback from a legendarily wicked musical force, “Survival Of The Sickest” provides yet more proof that BLOODBATH are the kings of the old school.
BLOODBATH add: “If there was a declaration of goods attached to this album, it would say Florida death metal exported from Sweden.”