For the past six years, BLOOD STRONGHOLD have prolifically pursued their vision of black metal, strongly (and bloodily) rooted in the classic '90s Polish tradition. An international duo, it's no surprise that these visions are so stout and solidified: on vocals, guitar, and bass is Nightwolf, who concurrently maintains the esteemed RUNESPELL as well as the much-missed ETERNUM; and exceedingly busy drummer Krew, who's played with countless bands but most prominently with NECROSTRIGIS, RAVENMOON SANCTUARY, ORDO SANGUINIS NOCTIS and STARLIT WOODS. Together as BLOOD STRONGHOLD, these two scene veterans have created a vast landscape of pure and proud Polish-style majesty that mesmerisingly transcends its hardly-disguised foundation.
But to simply say that BLOOD STRONGHOLD "only" create vintage Polish black metal is to severely undercut their not-inconsiderable artistry. Witness their latest full-length, Spectres of Bloodshed. With Krew's drums of war raising the banners before the listener's very ears, BLOOD STRONGHOLD waste no time in establishing a grim-yet-splendorous atmosphere, whisking the listener away to forgotten realms and arcane ages. The riffing, in particular - undoubtedly austere, yet strangely inviting in its somber melodicism - opens those portals of the imagination with utterly masterful ease, a veritable symphony of windswept abandon and tragic grandeur that's seemingly infinite in their resounding textures. Nightwolf's commanding throat, of course, conveys these tales with hackle-raising authenticity, verily imagining oneself before "Unbowed Wolves" or the "Blood Dawn," or what horrors arise "From the Depths of Veles Sea." And Krew's drumming, as always, is without peer here, guiding every pulse with poignancy and very real humanity; his reliance on tribal rhythms makes BLOOD STRONGHOLD's black metal ever more unique whilst firmly rooted in that richest tradition mentioned earlier.
All too aptly titled, Spectres of Bloodshed is an ominous reflection of an all-too-ancient past. Thankfully, BLOOD STRONGHOLD remain resolute and continue sharpening their swords, unconcerned with the rabble passing for nowadays "black metal." Follow their voice of blood, or fall before their swords!
Limited to 200 copies.