10/17/2008 - Review by: David Loveless
On Blood Haven's MySpace page, their self-descriptive moniker is "Unholy Blackened Thrash". Now, that is a saying that I have not heard since I used to listen to Thornspawn - which in my opinion is probably the best Blackened Thrash Metal band to come from the United States. Although Blood Haven couldn't hold a candle to the metal attack of Thornspawn, they are definitely a good "unholy blackened thrash" band. Their debut album, Religious Suffocation, is filled with hateful religious influenced anthems of brutal black metal.
The opening track, Hellfire, wastes no time in spewing the noise that spans the entire disk. With grim black metal riffs, the occasional thrash moments and bombastic double bass drumming, influences of early Marduk surface. The vocals are reminiscent of early Legion vocals, although they sound muddier in the mix that probably should be. The next song, N.C. 2020, begins at a thrash pace then turns into an Iron Maiden riff-fest, ultimately reverting back to the blackened thrash attack. The third song, Love To See Her Dead, starts with a horror sample that could be used on a Mortician song. However, the great thrash melodies take over and dominate the song. Shards Of Crystal is a relentless track from beginning to end and Colors Of Human Evolution show a slower, thrasher side of Blood Haven. This song has some great double bass and the vocal patterns really stand out as well. The sixth song, Dead Asleep, is another thrash anthem, but the vocals leave something to be desired here. It seems as if Dulworth (the vocalist/guitarist) is straining to hard to sound evil, but it ends up sounding like a horrible Mille (of Kreator) impression. The next song, Dwelling In Evil Revelations has almost the exact time signature as the previous song in spots, making them seem like run-on songs with different chorus parts. Fortunately, the vocals are a bit clearer in this song. Next comes Into The Arms Of Satan. This song puts Blood Haven back on track with the blackened thrash destructiveness as present at the beginning of the album. The final song, Blue Prints Of Armageddon, is extremely aggressive and leans more toward melodic black metal than thrash. That is not a bad thing though, as this seven and a half minute long song is probably the best track on the entire album.
Blood Haven is a good band, although not near the caliber of some of the bands that they have toured with in the past. However, if they keep churning out the destructive riffs, killer drumming, and rethink their vocal strategy, they will definitely turn some heads for the years to come. Religious Suffocation is a good album and fans of brutal black metal will be pleased with this CD.
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