If you were limited to saying two things about Sweden's BLOODBATH, it would have to be (1) damn, these guys are some serious players; and (2) they sure do write some memorable, old school based death metal. Both qualities are apparent on "Bloodbath Over Bloodstock", a DVD filmed at the band's first ever UK performance at the Bloodstock Festival in 2010. If you're a fan, then it's a guarantee that you'll enjoy the ever living hell out of it.
A great sound mix and visuals that are of good quality without resorting to any artsy or over the top camerawork do big time justice to 12 songs from throughout the act's decade-plus career. Unsurprisingly, each one of those cuts is attention-grabbing, blood soaked, and exceedingly well played. What makes BLOODBATH so appealing is their unique ability to take the old school Stockholm death metal format, make it catchier and update it with modern production qualities without prettying up the ugliness or ruining the vibe that made the work of the original so unique. The riffs kill, the leads sound fantastic, and the unit seamlessly rolls through the entire performance with killing-machine precision. And of course vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt (OPETH) makes any band he fronts damn near impossible to dislike. The guy's stage banter is often quite comical and the fact that he is able to let it all hang out while obviously having a blast doing so comes through loud and clear. Introducing "Mass Strangulation" as having the "stupidest riff you've ever heard in your life" (or words to that effect) is one example of his tongue-in-cheek one-liners that up the fun factor tenfold. At the risk of oversimplification, a BLOODBATH performance is entertaining from top to bottom and not a second of the set will have you checking your watch, much less averting your eyes to the various distractions around you. You'll watch, you'll admire, and you'll head bang right along to it with shit-eating grin plastered firmly on face.
The hour-long set alone is worth the purchase price. And that's a good thing, since my promotional copy doesn't include the Party.San Open Air bonus songs or the "extensive band member interviews", nor does it include the 16-page booklet. As such, I'll make a leap of faith and assume that those extras do nothing to reduce the value of the full package. Anything beyond the centerpiece Bloodstock performance should be considered gravy anyway.
- Scott Alisoglu