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ALBUM REVIEW : BLOODBOUND — Rise Of The Dragon Empire


BLOODBOUND — Rise Of The Dragon Empire (2019)

We have a lot to thank Sweden for, metal amongst other things, and bands like Bloodbound first and foremost. They bring us dramatic high-fantasy power metal in the same vein as Twilight Force (these two bands actually share drummer Daniel Sjögren) without the fluffy orchestrations and character lore. Instead, Bloodbound focuses mostly on the beloved (and often simultaneously hated) A Song of Ice And Fire series, aka Game of motherfucking Thrones. To those of you who didn’t know you could have GoT metal in your life; You’re welcome.

There is more to this band — they did after all bring us the epic jam “Moria” so it’s not all G.R.R, some of their work is J.R.R. as well — but I digress. This is about their latest album, Rise of the Dragon Empire. It was released it in the spring and it would make all the heroes, bastards, and mythical beings of Westeros proud.

The album starts extremely strong, with what I would say are the most memorable songs all piled in the first half. That is not to say the other songs are forgettable. Really, the whole of the album is really quite an enjoyable adventure. The songs move through emotional realms from high-up positivity to dark moody wintery tracks.

Bloodbound has a knack for creating catchy melodies that you will never be able to get out of your head, but they truly outdid themselves on Rise of the Dragon Empire.

The title track sounds like the theme of a 90’s fantasy movie — no, seriously, if the solo isn’t the “solo” from The Neverending Story theme song, I’m naming my first-born Atreyu — and you’ll be humming it to yourself until you go mildly insane. The intro to “Slayer of Kings” is sure to be hummed and woah-ho’d in unison by eager crowds as they await the band coming on stage, and its chorus will have fans singing at the top of their lungs, guaranteed. “Skyriders & Stormbringers” as well as “Blackwater Bay” both have memorable harmonies that will do wonderfully for live sing-alongs.

Bloodbound — Rise Of The Dragon Empire

I know the goal of an album is not for it to do well live, but it does help cement how much listeners enjoy certain songs over others. I personally always envision how the songs will translate in a concert setting, because I live to see the songs I love played live. And in my humble opinion, this album has serious crowd-pleasers on it.

If you're not a GoT know-it-all, if you can listen to Rise of the Dragon Empire with the Wiki of Ice and Fire closeby it can only enhance your listening experience, because my dudes, some of these references run deep. Short of writing their own published sagas (like Bal-Sagoth or Coheed & Cambria) this is as finely-crafted bookworm metal as you can make it.

Rise of the Dragon Empire stood out for me this year, as it is one of the only new power metal albums I have enjoyed from start to finish and keep listening to. I have songs that have been on repeat playlists since it they came out and show no sign of going anywhere, so I do think this album will make my top 10 albums of the year in the end. Hold the door — Bloodbound is coming!

BLOODBOUND — Rise Of The Dragon Empire

AFM Records

Release date: March 22, 2019

▶ Listen to Bloodbound on Spotify

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