Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bloodbound - Moria



Bloodbound is a Swedish power metal group that formed around 2005 and since that time they have already gone through two drummers, three bass players and an impressive four lead vocalist. What’s all the more impressive is that they have released six studio albums which means they manage to replace the lead singer once every one and a half albums on average, which is pretty fucking crazy when you think about it. Still congrats to Tomas Olsson (lead guitar), Fredrik Bergh (keyboard) and Henrik Olsson (rhythm guitar) for keeping the dream alive and sticking it out with such volatile line up changes in such a short period of time.

The original vocalist Urban Breed actually performed on the first and third studio albums, which only raises more questions about the coming and goings of band members. Finally on their forth studio album Bloodbound found their most consistent lead singer to date Patrik Johansson.

This seems to be a very common thing in Europe, band members hopping from one band to another. I mentioned this before when talking about musicians like Michael Kiske, Kai Hansen, and Jorn Lande, and how they have managed to be in approximately half a dozen different metal bands each. Like Skwisgaar from Dethklok they have basically been in every band ever. The past and current members of Bloodbound have been involved in a number of bands I have never heard of before and could barely find any information about any of them online, which in this day in age is a shock, but this does explain why I have heard so little about Bloodbound despite them having several decent songs, and there is still a lot I do not know about Bloodbound, but one thing I am confident in saying is “Moria” is a damned awesome song.

Coming off of their 2011 album “Unholy Cross,” the first album to include current lead singer Patrik Johansson, “Moria” is my favorite song I have heard from Bloodbound so far. I am very big on song structure, now admittedly I am untalented fool of a musician so I likely miss a large variety of subtle details in the music I listen too, but I think I listen well enough to pick up on the big picture. The songs I have always enjoyed the most have set pieces, verses, chorus, and bridges with a logical, simple gluing together of these things. “Moria’s” intro is a nice slow crawl towards excitement and the verses have one rhythm pattern and the choruses another. We have a nice guitar solo in the middle, like every great rock song should have, and the outro repeats the chorus into gradual departure of the instruments until only Johansson’s voice remains. And it is a really, really, I can’t emphasize this enough, really good chorus.

Not all metal songs are catchy, in fact, sometimes it is frowned upon in the metal community to be so, but I love the hook “Moira” has with its chorus. The lyrics are simple but meaningful and they are sung with the exact right amount of intensity, and it helps the guitars leap out with the vocals.

“Bang your head to hell and back,
Shaking the ground of Moria.
Raise the dead our time has come,
Show me the horns of Moria.”

Show me the halls of Moria, oh he said "horns?" Well that makes less sense.
Of course it is impossible for me to ignore the obvious “Lord of The Rings” reference. For those of you who missed it (somehow) Moria is the underground Dwarven kingdom the fellowship travel through in the “The Fellowship of the Ring.” The same place Balin led a group of dwarves into who met their doom at the hands of the goblins and orcs within, you should remember Gimli morning the dead as Gandalf read the journal of their fate. The same place Gandalf fought the Balrog, you know “You shall not pass!” that place; Moria. Presumably everyone would agree that the battle in the halls of Moria is a perfect event to write a metal song about, however... it is doubtful to say the least that Tolkien’s “Moria” is literally being referenced in this song. I mean the “horns of Moria?” It is as though they are referring to a demon named Moria or something. Maybe they thought the Balrog was named Moria? Maybe not, or maybe no one should care?

Despite expecting fantasy literature reference the lyrical content of “Moria” is actually rather agnostic or atheistic. The bridge into the chorus is;

“The night has fallen,
And the sky is clear.
You feel the darkness,
Surround you.
I’ll pray for mercy,
When I’m six feet underground.
I’ll pray for mercy,
When Eden’s found.”

And then slightly modified the second time around;

“The light is crawling,
And the time is near.
A touch of evil,
That bind you.
I’ll pray for mercy,
When my heart has stopped to pound.
I’ll pray for mercy,
When hell is found.”

And both bridges conclude with this fantastic little bit;

“Heavenly pictures try to rape your mind.
Tormented creatures you will find.”

Whoa!

I am very partial to these lyrics. It is a sort of “fuck you” to people threatening non-believes with hell and bribing them with heaven. Effectively all that is being said is, “I will believe you when there is a valid reason to believe you,” and also “I will not be intimidated,” in a very powerful manner. I really like the “tormented creatures” line, it could mean that those obsessed with “heavenly” ideas will become tormented, or it could be that they search so desperately for validation for their absurd believes they project horror onto everything and will either create or falsify the hell they so desperately feel the need to believe in as a counter weight to their imaginary heaven. Good stuff.

I like the guitars, I like the energy, I like the Tolkien reference, I like the song structure, and I like the whole atheistic theme; basically a perfect song for my subjective tastes. Good work Bloodbound, I hardly know anything about you, but I think “Moria” is among one of the best songs I have heard in recent years. Keep up the good work and good luck keeping your lineup intact.

- King of Braves

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