“Bloodbound” War of Dragons – CD REVIEW by Adam McCann

Record: AFM Records 2017

Throughout Heavy Metal history, there are certain countries that helped shape the sound we know today. The UK gave us Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, the USA passed on Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer with Germany offering Scorpions, Accept and Helloween. But more recently, have any countries shaped the landscape like the Nordic countries? Norway gave us Black Metal, Finland added melancholy and beautiful symphonies to Heavy Metal, but it is Sweden that wears the crown, from the most epic of Power Metal, to the grinding Melodic Death Metal sound from Gothenburg as well as catchy Melodic Hard Rock, listen to a band these days and there is a good chance that they are Nordic.

Bloodbound have been on the scene for quite a long time now, formed in 2004, Bloodbound have been through their fair share of vocalists, most famous of which is Urban breed; known for his work in Tad Morose and more recently, Serious Black. These days though, Bloodbound have settled on Patrik J. Selleby who has been in the vocal seat since 2010. Alas, if you have never heard Bloodbound, imagine a cross between Edguy with the cheese factor of Dream Evil or HammerFall turned up to 10 and you’re starting to get into the right ball park.

Since they were formed, Bloodbound have had a relatively stable output of albums, on average releasing an album every 2 years. Here we are in 2017 and we have a new Bloodbound album. War of Dragons is Bloodbound’s overall 7th studio album, continuing the Game of Thrones/fantasy theme laid down previously with Stormborn, the main difference is War of Dragons doesn’t directly reference the Game of Thrones series, choosing to focus more on its own concept.

It looks like AFM Records have ploughed a large budget into War of Dragons, sonically, the album is superb and the guys at Bloodbound have done a brilliant job with the production, War of Dragons is a pleasure to listen to. The keyboards of Fredrik Bergh go a long way to fill out the sound, giving War of Dragons an exceptionally warm feeling overall putting it directly on par with recent releases from HammerFall, Avantasia, Sonata Arctica or even the mighty Sabaton. Speaking of Sabaton, you also have to mention the fact that as much as Bergh’s keyboards fill out the sound, there are a lot keyboard stabs that suspiciously make a few of the tracks sound as if Sabaton’s 2012 masterpiece, Carolus Rex has been used as a template, especially the likes of King of Swords, Symphony Satana and Tears of a Dragonheart having a very similar feel to Lion from the North. The Sabaton influence doesn’t end there, Battle of the Sky has a close vocal melody delivery to The Last Stand with the pre-chorus to Fallen Heroes having one lingering chord that is very reminiscent of Ruina Imperii. However, don’t think that War of Dragons is total Sabaton worship, there are tracks likes the beautiful Silver Wings and Guardians of Heaven’s Gate that wouldn’t be out of place on a HammerFall album.

What you get with War of Dragons is an album of yes, very similar sounding songs, but it also breeds a familiarity that is infectious and once it gets you, you will find that you keep choosing War of Dragons to play. Bloodbound have released another album that is the typical sound of Power Metal, it’s grandiose, it’s epic and it is full of the fantasy themes that make the genre so endearing. 8/10

Adam McCann / MHF Magazine

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