I decided to review this album on a whim, and I’m extremely glad that I did. Being familiar with Katatonia since the late 90s and a fan of Paradise Lost since the early 90s certainly put me in good stead, even though I wasn’t aware there were members from these bands in the line-up until I got the promo material. Add to that the current Opeth drummer and the guitarist from black metal band Craft, and then when you consider the past members from when Bloodbath formed 20 years ago, what we have here is the very definition of supergroup releasing their fifth album.

When you consider that three of those bands mentioned above are renowned for being slow but heavy, you shan’t be surprised when “Fleischmann” wastes no time flaying you to the bone with blistering drumming by Axe and long deep roars from Old Nick while Blakkheim and Joakim work their riff magic on six strings.

The first single “Bloodicide”, has guest vocals spat out by Jeff Walker, with Karl Willetts adding his trademark growl along with that of John Walker giving us a veritable smorgasbord of British death vocalists all in one place. In addition, the reason I decided to review the album.

The rather twisted “Wayward Samaritan” is rather up-tempo with an allegro feel that belies the nasty lyrics that are delivered with a gaiety in the inflection adding to the juxtaposition.

Axe’s footwork is followed closely on the bass by Lord Seth on the slowish “Levitator” where Nick’s low vocals match the oppressively heavy guitars, even the leads have an edge to them that fits the mood of the song perfectly.

The catchy cadence of the vocals on “Deader” work well with the changing riffs and drum patterns, and have no problems with the changes in pace either.

The steady rhythm of “March Of The Crucifiers” is broken by the squeals of false harmonics and the double-time lead before fading out in the decidedly faster “Morbid Antichrist” where the half-time vocals make no pretence at trying to keep up with the guitars and drums, but rather just hold the roars for longer.

“Warhead Ritual” has a bit of a rock’n’roll vibe to its structure and if weren’t for the fact that they are death vocals, you’d certainly say they were sing-along in sentiment.

There’s a great buzz to the guitars on “Only The Dead Survive” which goes well over the rolling snare staccato as it takes up a marching beat

If it weren’t for the morbid subject matter, I’m sure “Chainsaw Lullaby” could happily be a radio hit with its bouncy rhythm and easily sung melody allowing it to be catchy to the extreme.

There are going to be two bonus tracks, “Ride The Waves Of Fire” and “Wide Eyed Abandon”, available on the Ltd Edition CD + 7″ version.

In conclusion, while I may have put this on thinking I might enjoy a track or two, the whole album is a lot deeper than the macabre façade you are initially drawn into.

(8/10 Marco Gaminara)