Now this lot are a blast from the past as I remembered reviewing the Spanish band whose name means Glass In Blood’s debut self-titled album via Xtreem music way back in 2004. Finding this in my promo boxes of discs and giving it a blast, I was again impressed by just how potent the group’s brand of pummelling melodic death metal still sounded and quickly found myself enjoying the volatile brew of songs it contained. What has happened in the interim then? Well basically they released two more albums and then split up in 2010. After eight years of silence the group is back with three original members, one of which has ties with Foscor and a new drummer who is also in metal of death heavyweights Cruciamentum. Not that one should go into Set De Sang looking for quite that level of barbarity though, this is much more accessible stuff full of neat flowing leads, heavy on the melody and a few more surprises that I will come to.
The seven songs all have Spanish titles and the Catalan based band even rein in the classical poems of Miquel Marti I Pol for inspiration. The language is expressed gutturally in opener ‘Els vents bufen a favour,’ the drumming is hefty and head is banging compulsively along to it all from the start. Then comes the surprise, since I last heard them someone has learned to seriously sing and along with the gruff growls some sudden sweeping clean vocals are injected along with some soaring melodicism taking this to another dimension. Death purists, seriously do not let this put you off as these vocals are absolutely full of power and really hit the mark fantastically, literally and quite unexpectedly blowing my socks clean off. As the first track fades out, somewhat too soon for my liking I want more of the same. Luckily having hit the mark there are plenty more to follow. Lots of weight, substance and a brooding angry atmosphere sees Emergiré emerging (sorry) with a very dark storm cloud at its back. Then come those heartfelt croons and again the mood lightens and flirts with the stormy gravitas of the track’s main ballast. I guess there is a little bit of the composite moods and emotions summoned by an artist such as Ihsahn or even Anaal Nathrakh in this vocal variation and although language wise it is alien as to the story it is telling I am really compelled and following this every step of the way. The musicians should not be ignored in the slightest either, the guitars here containing a staccato weaving about them along with some flowing leads. The biog accompanying this mentions both Iron Maiden and Gojira and yep I can get where that is coming from. This is certainly not music resting on its laurels and it is an ever twisting, turning canvas that is expertly delivered. Probably my favourite guitar melody is found in ‘Miraré de no tornar-me a perdre’ as it is displays a memorable short, sharp stabbing cadence that really gets its hooks in and won’t let go. The track also features some bass work by guest collaborator Martin Mendez who should really need no introduction.
The second half of the album sees the band really getting into letting things flow with the musicianship organically billowing out some great motifs and going into natural fluid jams. They have no problems letting things flow and keeping the listener enraptured for any amount of time and songs such as Som pelegrins at over 9 minutes don’t overstay their welcome in the slightest. Injecting everything from weeping metallic harmonics into their sound this keeps us on our toes and has plenty of depth to it allowing you to find something different along with rediscovering some favourite parts on each consecutive listen.
There’s definitely a leap in maturity since I last heard Vidres A La Sang and even though they were missing in action for some time unbeknownst to me it is great to have the band back. I hope the reaction to this is generally as good as mine and they are encouraged to continue.
(8/10 Pete Woods)