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Necrobirth (2014)

The hellish Bloodstrike is a Denver, Colorado-based old school sounding death metal band which, believe it or not, is fronted by one of the most frightening female voices I’ve ever heard! Holly Wedel (ex-Nexhymn) puts some male vocalists to shame with her chesty rasps and unholy bellows and she’s the perfect presence to lead this band into battle.

Considering that this quintet only formed in 2013, their debut three-track demo is really one to savour if you’re a fan of thick-set death metal that boasts a deep guitar sound and gargantuan percussion. Such impenetrable walls of mayhem are built by guitar duo Jeff Alexis (ex-Silencer) and Joe Piker (ex-Clusterfux, Dripfed), bassist Rhiannon Wisniewski (Moth, ex-Somnus, ex-Dark Arena) and drummer Ryan Alexander Bloom (ex-Havok).

Every now and then you hear a band that ignites the soul and sets the heart aflame, and Bloodstrike is the sort of formidable racket that needs to be put to wax. From the opening rumbles of ‘In Death We Rot’ with its utterly demonic vocal belches and equally disturbing formations of blackness, there is that underlying stench of decay suggesting an ancient understanding of the basics and of what it takes to create a truly orgasmic death metal din. Hell, if I’d picked this up back in 1988 I’d be foaming at the mouth; in fact, I am as I write this review, such is the bestial nature of Holly Wedel’s Luciferian growls.

‘Skeletal Remains’ will no doubt have the neighbours fleeing their homes and the neighbourhood dogs whimpering. From the stark, twanging creepy guitar tone and Wedel’s vicious rasps this has to be one the most nefarious death metal offerings I’ve heard for years, and that’s before the slimy, oozing bass bellow and guitar trudge sets in.

Influences are many and I’m surprised that the press release for this demo is so keen to mention a Swedish death ’n’ roll tinge, because if you ask me this is far too heavy and black to be even compared with that scene. This is monstrously heavy and pitch in its statement, but I can see where some of the Entombed comparisons may creep in every now and then, particularly with ‘Skeletal Remains’. However, there’s just so much more rotten flesh to chew on here and the dismay is almost overwhelming as we reach the last track ‘Serpent Son’ with its monolithic grind, but there’s always that ability to replay the demo time and time again until your skull is full of maggots and your bones crumble within flesh.

For their debut demo, Bloodstrike have delivered a juddering mini-masterpiece, and I am literally retching with excitement at the thought of a full-length album… in fact, there go my innards!

For those of you interested, the Necrobirth demo can be downloaded here.

Neil Arnold

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