The biggest challenge ‘Reanimation’ faces is the expectations set by Bloodshot Dawn’s previous album ‘Demons’. It was an incredible melodic death metal album that was easily on the level of the best its inspirations have ever released, and in some ways surpassed them.
Unfortunately, the band went through a difficult period after the release of ‘Demons’ which resulted in every member who had played on that album except vocalist/guitarist Josh McMorran leaving the band and being replaced by new musicians.
After such a dramatic change in personnel, it’s not surprising that ‘Reanimation’ is a shift away from its predecessor. Polished, Arch Enemy styled leads are less prominent and have been replaced with the harsher and more rhythm-led sound of Bloodshot Dawn’s self-titled debut.
The thrashier, more aggressive style of melodic death metal pioneered by At The Gates and Carcass is on show throughout the album while sections like Graviton Nightmare’s verses push even heavier into death metal. The weighty extended range rhythm guitars and intricate leads of Scar Symmetry (whose guitarist Per Nilsson produced the album) also remain key to Bloodshot Dawn’s sound.
This isn’t just a return to their earlier work – ‘Reanimation’ shows growth for the band’s songwriting while capturing the rawness of their debut. However, this change in style has also resulted in their material losing some of the hookiness and symphonic grandeur that was shown on ‘Demons’.
Bloodshot Dawn also cling a little closer to their inspirations here than before. If Scar Symmetry added Soul Affliction or Reanimated to one of their albums they would be highlights, but they also would not stand out as much as they should…
Any small weaknesses shown by ‘Reanimation’ can be attributed to it being a necessary act of consolidation. Bloodshot Dawn do not quite sound at full strength, but they are still exceptional. After surviving what could easily have been the end of the band, they remain one of the strongest and consistent acts in the scene.