Bloodloss – ‘The Struggle’ Album Review

This magnificent album from the London (UK) based heavy metal outfit Bloodloss, is a very personal affair, consisting of 6 tracks that stand as disturbing ideas on the struggle to come to terms with loss, grief, loneliness and desolation. But the tracks also demonstrate enthusiasm and freshness, somehow offering glimpses of slow redemption. Capable of great love and warmth, but full of emptiness and yearning emotion and pain, this album will satisfy all but the flintiest bosom.

Inter-mingled amongst the fiery framework in this cauldron of sounds on the opening track – ‘The Struggle’ – are sparkling jewels of the finest obsidian-sharp quartzite guitar-work (Rob Ironmonger and Mark Browell).These are more valuable than you can possibly imagine because, without these shining beacons, the work would become incredibly bleak. The slower moments allow you to take a breath, and look around you, before contemplating startling horizons. Cruel and lascivious at times, this track is also tender and passionate at others. Constantly, you feel enmeshed within a chain-mail strait-jacket , as if some incalculably strong and furious demon has enslaved you. Matt Hobbs (vocals) adds grimy earth shattering cries and undying growls. But his voice also gently soothes and embraces you when you need it. This is precious stuff. The tantalizing guitar solo in the last portion of the song whips up a magical swarmfest of volcanic majesty and power.

‘This Still Remains’ has a buzz-saw bass (David Smith) that gives this track a memorable gravitas of burgeoning power. Drum beats (Daniel Kelly) are released like spark and fly shrapnel – flung from a furnace, like whipping chains of golden fire. The guitars stand like giants. Only to be cut down by lacerating vocals that cut through everything like spitting acid. A regular beat is gradually formed, and this slow march submits to a procession of sounds which then forecast the catastrophic famine within the final breaths of this extraordinary creation. And only time will heal these wounds.

‘Stand Alone’ is like a war cry from a solitary demon trapped in an uncertain dimension. A very fast moving, and eerie spectacle. And ‘Reborn’ has more of those sparkling guitars that will fry your members and corrode the nethers. Your precious heart will be mortally wounded in the process. A luxurious riff encapsulates the immense power of those strategically placed vocals- and these take you from germination to termination in just a few terrifying steps. Heartbreaking and mesmerizing at the same time.

‘Lost’ is another song of irreconcilable ruin. The line “I’m just so lost without you” is like a spear through the heart. You will break down and sob in anger and in sadness. But though this may be bleak and desolate in essence, the song does not lack vitality nor even stark beauty. It is a creation of subtle and dark lines of power, each note carefully enmeshing and entombing you within the depths of a truly glorious despair. Utterly potent.

The obvious fact that the work on this album comes from an immensely sad and final place is clear from the outset. And yet the last track on the album- ‘Paradise’ contains sufficient life-force to make you feel you may be able to arise gently from that cursed place towards new beginnings. There is never retribution or vengeance found among the strewn symbols of loss, regret and hollowness- just a sense of justified and longed for deliverance and an ultimate salvation. And as such, ‘Paradise’ is a fitting end-piece to this stunning work, and a monumentally constructed heavyweight monolith of power and beauty in its own right. Eventually, when your feelings of desolation and inconsolable grief are washed away by the powerful guitar lines and the rapid percussion, all that remains is the pain.

© Neil_Mach Apr 2012


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