Published Oct 25, 2018The oversaturation of amateur death metal bands has rendered the genre stagnant. Countless bands imitate the requisite characteristics of the style, such as growling and blast beats, but without any degree of creativity or talent, resulting in an echo chamber of who can be more brutal than the other, as opposed to being genuinely better. That's a monumental task, given the achievements set almost 20 years ago by the likes of Cannibal Corpse, Carcass, Autopsy, etc.
Bloodbath are a notable exception. Their artistic goal has always been to pay homage, of sorts, to the classics — refining, recording and releasing the very essence of death metal.
The Arrow of Satan Is Drawn stands atop any other pure death metal release this year. The album begins with "Fleischmann," a devastating opening track with an uncompromising tempo and volume that perseveres throughout the rest of the album. Fans of the supergroup may find that the transitions between riffs don't gut the stomachs of listeners in the same way as previous records. Brutal hooks have been replaced by the fast, blistering wash of black metal-inspired progressions, a trend that began on the previous album, Grand Morbid Funeral, making Bloodbath sound more rotten than ever before.
From beginning to end The Arrow of Satan Is Drawn is a solid release, and yet it will fail to supplant any of the classics that still define the genre to this day. The Arrow of Satan Is Drawn is a great album, probably the best death metal release this year, but it's not memorable. (Peaceville)