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Death metal name? Check. Black metal album art? Check. Technical melodic punk thrash metalcore tunes? Check. Funeral Hymns is the second full-length release from Chicago’s Bloodletter, who deliver more than they promise with elite thrash metal blended with occasional crossover elements.
Our sense of security well and truly duped by the sweet guitar intro to ‘Absolution Denied’, the band quickly move past the pleasantries to napalm our other senses with grit blasting vocals, scowling riffs, and Swiss watch drumming at Italian sports car speed.
Second track ‘The Grim’ has guest appearance vocals that would have Linda Blair checking under her bed and ends with striking, old school staccato licks, setting the band up nicely to tear through the rest of the album. Many of the tracks, like ‘Burnt Beyond Recognition’, ‘Death Masks’, and ‘Hang’, offer more vocal range, with thrash sneers backed with grindcore guest vocals and occasional howling choruses; each syllable snarled with a reliable aggression that could tear bark from trees.
We get a few seconds of respite with the slow and meditative intro to the final track ‘I Am The End’, but this is short lived as the band sprint past the post with yet more apocalyptic metal. The dark lyrical content covers what you would expect in the way of death and destruction, as well as a startling glimpse into suicidal ideation and enough references of the ‘glory in death’ to make a 10th Century Germanic horde blush.
Beautifully vicious, Funeral Hymns is a flawlessly produced improvement on 2018’s Under the Dark Mark and a necessary addition to anyone’s collection.
Release date: January 22, 2021
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