“The Wacken Carnage” by Bloodbath

Artist: Bloodbath
Title: “The Wacken Carnage”
Label: Peaceville UK
Release Date: 6/2/2008
Genre: Death Metal
Rating: 4/5

It’s not too often that you find the term “super group” applied to the likes of a Death Metal band, but when it comes to this particular lineup for the band Bloodbath is most certainly makes sense. The Swedish Death Metal group delivers the no-holds barred approach to the genre and this rare concert appearance from 2005 is not something we can easily expect to see again based on the daytime gigs of its roster. The supposed “one time only gig” finds Michael Akerfeldt and Martin Axenrot (members of Opeth) handling the vocal and drumming duties, while Anders Nystrom and Jonas Renske (guitar and bass respectively) hail from the Doom Metal band Katatonia. Rounding out the project is Dan Swano (Nightingale/Edge Of Sanity) who not only provides crushing guitar riffs but also additional and very necessary growling. According to research this was the band first ever live performance and supposed to be the only one as well for the band was formed as a studio only side project based on the very busy schedules that its members are involved in on a daily basis and while the future might find this to be a different case altogether I am glad that the cameras were on hand to capture this one. The film finds the guys dressed in bloody tatters as the pummel the audience with a very traditional brand of Swedish Death Metal. The sound while different from the USA brand of the stuff is no less heavier or intense and what made this most interesting for me was that it offered the viewer the chance to see these musicians performing outside of the roles that we know them most from. Seeing Akerfeldt with no guitar for example is one thing, and to find him doing nothing but the gut-wrenching soul tortured growls as opposed to any level of melodic singing is the other. It’s true that while Opeth offers many levels of heaviness across the board there is much more brutal intensity being brought to the table during “Cancer Of The Soul” and “Eaten”. Clearly the bands subject matter is very along the lines of their equally brutal name.

It was also interesting to see Renske, who instead of being up front as a vocalist is instead way back to the rear of the stage by the amps just doing his thing on bass. Of course Swano and Nystrom however are truly forces of head banging guitar fury during the set which seems to be going over like gangbusters based on the frequent pans to the audience. The set also seems to have been done early in the day and this might have been because of the main bands they make up also being featured performers for the show. When one looks at the crowd they can see that they are both wet and some covered in mud so my guess is that a storm had just passed over them or the circle pits found a lot of people doing this in the mud. During the set Akerfeldt periodically engages the crowd who at one point make him ask him if they were yelling “Opeth”. I don’t think they were but it sounded a little like it under the bone-shattering Metal that the band was doing. While the film is primarily a straight ahead concert film with no fluff or magical visuals to enjoy, we do see a powerful project laying waste to an eager audience and that is truly what Bloodbath seemed to be about. There are some great angles and close-ups but don’t expect any bells and whistles during this one. The package also includes an audio CD of the full performance so you can blast this in the car, on your stereo, and even load it up onto your music player of choice. I like when this is packaged together and this one won me over for releasing it in the small square jewel case with a booklet that is loaded with images of the band, bloody stuff everywhere and the bands horrifying lyrics to the bands performance. While the show is listed as that one off that we discussed earlier, it is always possible that the reaction to a particular performance or release can lead to the revisiting of it. Based on this show one can only hope that this is not the last we have seen of this lineup of Bloodbath but if it is at least we have one hell of a souvenir to remember them by.

Track Listing:
1. Intro
2. Cancer Of The Soul
3. So You Die
4. Soul Evisceration
5. Ways To The Grave
6. Ominous Bloodvomit
7. Like Fire
8. Bastard Son Of God
9. Breeding Death
10. Outnumbering The Day
11. Brave New Hell
12. Furnace Funeral
13. Eaten

Official Website: http://bloodbath.biz

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