Bleeding Gods – “Dodekathlon” (Nuclear Blast Records)
Named after the 12 labours of Hercules, “Dodekathlon” is the 2nd full length release from Dutch extreme metallers Bleeding Gods, who formed just 5 years ago, but consist of veteran underground members with founder guitarist Ramon Ploeg being a former member of Houwitser. Following their nation’s fine tradition in metal, Bleeding Gods fuse traditional thrash metal a la Slayer with orchestral elements reminding me of Fleshgod Apocalypse while using the haunting harpsichord keys of Cradle Of Filth on occasions to add even more to richness of sounds on “Dodekathlon”. There’s also an epic, blackened technical aspect throughout reminiscent of Nile – quite a combination and certainly befitting the titanic subject matter of this album! Besides the band’s obvious speed and aggression no better demonstrated than on the raging, chundering groove of ‘Beloved By Artemis’, “Dodekathlon” is not just a high velocity hack n slash run thanks to the pedigree of the musicians here, but impressively incorporates a large amount of melodies not just in tasty heavy metal soloing like on ‘Hera’s Orchard’ but also in those aforementioned creepy keys courtesy of Martin Powel (My Dying Bride, Anathema, Cradle of Filth) and some fine spanish guitar employed to great effect on ‘Tyrannical Blood’, especially when combined with the dark spoken words of vocalist Mark Huisman, who normally roars or huskily screams to equally great effect! It all adds grace and majesty to the 12 tracks here, not just making the songs memorable but also giving a real air of class to the band who make a fine addition to Holland’s reputation for producing top metal acts.