Review by Joshua on March 25, 2005.
There are two parts to this album: eight new tracks, aggressive and intense but not focused on punishing speed; and four tracks remastered from an early demo, which are basically incoherent shit formed by pummeling the lowest guitar string into oblivion.
The rest of this review focuses completely on the new material. You can just think of the demo material as bonus tracks, assuming that you're into garbled, childish monotonal screaming with a mediocre production. I'd recommend just ignoring them.
You won't find the hyperfast brutality of their early material here, so stop looking. Krisiun opted for a slightly slower approach, with greater focus on songwriting. This is not to say that they've created something melodic or accessible. I said “slightly,” didn't I? No, it remains quite aggressive, atonal, and harsh, with a heavy emphasis on technical finesse over melody. In fact, their ability to write memorable, dissonant compositions shines through remarkably well on this album. Draw parallels to the last (phenomenal) Behemoth album as you like here – they're extremely similar in many places.
Simply put, the difference between Bloodshed and earlier work is that most notes are discernible. Most of their old albums blur into an indistinct and cacophonous buzz, like a Morbid Angel record played at 78 rpm. In contrast, this album features some clever instrumental segues that balance out their dissonant sound manipulation nicely.
Much of their earlier work was one collective superficial blast beat, hammered out to cover up either lazy writing or cocaine addiction. They're about equally probable. On the other hand, this album relegates the blast beats to a minimum, showcasing Max Kolesne's percussive talent without overshadowing the impressive abilities of Krisiun's other members. “Hateful Nature” is a perfect transitional example, while “Ominous” also reminds me of older material; their characteristic sound isn't gone, but it's been honed and distilled.
The slower sound on Bloodshed works a minor miracle for Krisiun, showing a creativity and depth that their old albums lacked conspicuously. Dissonant and innovative, menacing and memorable, this will appeal best to fans of Morbid Angel and Behemoth. Even so, anybody with an ear for dissonance should like this album – and, if not, you can always put the ridiculous demo material on repeat ad nauseum.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 7.6 out of 10