‘Dodekathlon’ is the second release from Bleeding Gods, and it is an hour of epic, blackened death metal, which is all delivered in an intricate 12 tracks of pure power and aggression. This opus has different influences in the equation, the most notable being the collaboration with Martin Powell, who is of ex My Dying Bride and Anathema fame.

‘Bloodguilt’ opens up the proceedings, and is packed full of melodies and raw vocals in equal measures. ‘Beloved By Artemis’ continues in the same vain, and Powell’s keys are prominent as they seem to work effortlessly with the dual fretwork on show.

Each and every track seems polished to oblivion, and are masterful in their approach and deliverance which take the listener on an aural journey of mesmerising symphonies.

‘Birds Of Hate’ exhibits the contrast the band have to offer, in the form of Huisman and Mulder, whose vocals intertwine effortlessly adding varying degrees of softness and light to the opus. ‘Birds Of Hate’ is also possibly the heaviest offering on the album, and the closing track ‘Hound Of Hell’ delivers a sprinkling of progressive hints to the otherwise battering of the bleak and wild blackened death metal which the band deliver to you.

Midway through the proceedings is the acoustic track ‘Tyrannical Blood’, which serves as a reminder that as well as raw aggressive black metal, and brutal pounding death metal, the band are also capable of switching the mood and showing their romantic side to the listener,. This opens them up and makes them almost natural and innocent in their honesty.

The band use orchestration and instrumentation to good effect throughout the whole album and the whole event is cinematic in its depth and understanding, yet they seem to be able to switch on a tightrope and deliver brutal riffing, massive blast beats, and moods of monumental proportions.

Bleeding gods can be cited as representing the more brutal symphonic side of the metal fence, with similarities being drawn to Fleshgod Apocalypse and SepticFlesh, which are just 2 names which will sit more familiar with any metal head.

This album is opulent and majestic in vast portions, and is backed up by massive riffs and gruff vocals, which are filled with pure hate, aggression and pounding rhythms, which are all tied together with epic symphonies and orchestration ,

This is a truly magnificent effort which grabs you from the start, and doesn’t repent until the last chords are echoing out. If you like your metal grand, colossal, orchestral and symphonic, as well as raw, vicious, substantial and hammering, then you would be a fool to ignore this one.

(9/10 Phil Pountney)