Published on April 30th, 2019 | by Justin G.
Bloodbound: Rise Of The Dragon Empire (AFM, 2019)
At this point, “Game of Thrones metal” ought to be recognized as a distinct genre, since the series of novels and TV series has influenced any number of metal bands. The leaders of that particular pack are Swedish power metal veterans Bloodbound, who follow up their dragon-obsessed albums Stormborn (2014) and War Of Dragons (2017) this year with the epic Rise Of The Dragon Empire.
It’s weird to use the term “consistent” when talking about a band like Bloodbound that has gone through so many shifts in sound and lineups, but that’s really the best way to sum up Rise Of The Dragon Empire. The band’s eighth full-length album is a continuation in style and themes from the two that came before it, and that’s completely fine. Those two albums were glorious, cheesy, entirely enjoyable epics, and so is this. Stylistically, this is equal parts Sabaton (replace tanks with dragons, obviously) and early Nocturnal Rites. Infectious melodies, sing-along choruses, twinkly keyboards and fantasy lyrics (belted out oh so effectively by Patrik Selleby) abound. The title track is almost an Elvenking-style folk metal song, and the epic “Blackwater Bay” and “Balerion” as well as the heavy “Breaking The Beast” are other highlights.
If you like your metal serious and introspective, you’ll want to steer clear of this one. Bloodbound is for power metal fans who rejoice in the genre’s cheesiest qualities. Not necessarily in a Gloryhammer kind of way, but in a “lets raise our fists and sing about glorious dragon battles” way. If your playlists tend to include bands like Helloween, Rhapsody, Nocturnal Rites, Twilight Force, Elvenking and Freedom Call, you’ll want to check out Rise Of The Dragon Empire.
Edition Notes: The deluxe physical edition of Rise Of The Dragon Empire comes in a digipack and features a bonus DVD with a full live Bloodbound performance from the 2017 Bang Your Head festival.
Summary: Almost as epic as this week's Game of Thrones episode...