Bloodbound – “War Of Dragons” (AFM Records)
A Swedish power metal band, Bloodbound might’ve been slightly late off the mark for the power metal wave of the late 90s, but they’ve certainly made their mark as a 2nd division band, playing Sweden Rock and supporting Evergrey and Hammerfall in their time. In my opinion, they could’ve been much bigger but suffered from successive changes in their singers, not to mention an early image conflict where the band would wear corpse paint, coming across as a black metal band when the truth couldn’t be any further! Taking a cue from their more famed countrymen in Sabaton, these guys play power metal with a slight epic tinge but with heaps of bountiful melodies like on the racing ‘Guardians At Heaven’s Gate’, an apt title considering the swashbuckling guitars of the Olsson brothers, not to mention those blissful choirs. Thankfully still with Patrik J Selleby hopefully putting their past singing woes to an end, the vocals are perfectly suited to the heart stirring music in delivering plenty of passion along with clean, soulful highs clearly demonstrated on ‘Fallen Heroes’, where the talent of the band show that they can equally handle the move into epic territory while staying perfectly suited to the more traditionally folky style on ‘Silver Wings’, complete of course with its hugely catchy chorus! Even on the quieter songs like ‘Starfall’ Selleby’s vocals make the singalong magic while on the classic power metal of the searing ‘Battle In The Sky’ he lights the fire to the inferno while the Olsson brothers duel it out once again in neoclassical splendor! All in all an excellent power metal offering from a band long expected to move into the premiere league if their demons have long since past.