BLOODLETTER – Funeral Hymns

BLOODLETTER - Funeral Hymns
  • 9.1/10
    BLOODLETTER - Funeral Hymns - 9.1/10


Release date: January 22, 2021

User Review
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Bloodletter whacks the hornets’ nest near the end of “Absolution Denied”, the opening track on their newest album Funeral Hymns. Imagine a band thrashing along at a decent pace, all instruments locking into a tight rhythmic groove, and seeing among the drummer’s well-used and abused kit an extra cymbal stand just to the right of the main kit. Instead of an extra cymbal, a very large hornet’s nest hangs from a branch lashed to the stand. The drummer steps out of the locked groove with a double-bass trip, the singer grunts, and then a drumstick whales into the hornets’ nest with all of the drummer’s considerable might. A whirlwind of hornets clouds the musicians, but they play on, intent on delivering as many stings as they receive as the slip easily from gale force to whirlwind.

Picture it? It’s there waiting for you, right at the 2:54 mark of a song that winds up being just under three and a half minutes long. Hailing from Chicago, Bloodletter’s recording output began in 2013 with an EP release, since then the quartet has released one full-length and several more EPs. Originally a self-released title last year, Funeral Hymns gets a wider exposure in this new edition from Petrichor Records. The evidence of their hard work permeates the entirety of Funeral Hymns, an album filled with bright guitar harmonics, thrillingly swift soloing, and truly exceptional rhythmic patterning from Zach Sutton on drums and Adam Payne on bass (check out his short solo on “Mark Of Justice).” Several guest stars lend their talents to the chaos as well–Rae Amitay of Immortal Bird, Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez of Exmortus, Jason Milbank of A Wilhelm Scream/Senses Fail, Stephen Behrendt of Toxic Ruin and Justin Wilbanks of Knight of the Round.

The eleven songs on Funeral Hymns display an old-school level of brutality mixed with a modern flair for technical precision and proficiency; the frenzy slows exactly twice after a sort-of down tempo trick open; the other interludes appear in the final song, the appropriately named “I Am The End”. The track opens quiet and there’s a shift mid-song to an airy guitar moment; both moments brilliant Thrash tricks followed immediately by swift sonic kicks to the throat. Front to back, the album pounds its way to a thrilling build and conclusion.

The only misstep of this enthralling release is perhaps the title and album art, both of which seem to telegraph a Doom-laden morose plodder of murk and mire rather than the powder keg explosiveness the record provides. If the songs contained on Funeral Hymns were actually intended for a funeral, it would be a funeral in which the pallbearers run headlong through the cemetery from the hearse, hurl the coffin into an open grave, and run screaming for the gates after punching several mourners in the face. Maybe Bloodletter intends a sly joke, putting “fun” in the funeral.


  • Daniel Waters

    Daniel was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. Iron Maiden’s Piece Of Mind wasn’t the first Metal album he owned, but it was the one that lifted the lid off his soul when he received the record as a gift on his 15th birthday. He's been a Metal fan ever since. He's probably best known as the author of various Young Adult novels such as the Generation Dead series and the ghost story Break My Heart 1,000 Times, now also a major motion picture entitled I Still See You, starring Bella Thorne. Writing and music, especially Heavy Metal music, has always been inextricably linked in his mind and career. His first paid gig doing any type of writing was for Cemetery Dance, where he wrote a horror-themed music column called Dead Beats, and when he was writing the first Generation Dead novel he had a ritual where he started his writing day with a Metal playlist that kicked off with “Crushing Belial” by Shadows Fall.

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