REVIEW: Bloodbather – Silence [EP/2020]

Review: Bloodbather

Album: Silence – EP

Speaking broadly, the world (and all things in it) exist in a dynamic state poised between two extremes. This natural ebb and flow through the shades of intermedia defined by the opposition of those two extremes provide meaning and context to the things we create and experience. I know, it sounds loopy reading it, but lets go through a couple examples. Color is one—taking, for example, the most radiant and vivid hues against their flat, grayscale opposites. Or, perhaps the neons that so brightly defined our collective scene years—now in stark opposition to monotones and neutrals. Without one end, we’d have no context by which to appreciate or utilize the other. Hot and cold, light and dark—all big thematic elements follow this scheme.

As it turns out on Bloodbather’s latest Extended Play, so does Silence.

            Silence itself is a ruthless collection of deeply-slicing metalcore cuts that is, truthfully, anything but silent. However, juxtaposing riveting leads against remorseless, hammer-hitting breakdowns and ethereal atmosphere alike, Bloodbather find themselves once more making large, nostalgic waves in the contemporary metalcore scene. With dark lyrical themes embedded in a murky, aggressive musical soundscape, the band’s latest effort is, to date, their most complete—and the only thing truly silent about it are the scant moments of respite that divide head-splitting chugs during the band’s malicious, mosh-inducing breakdowns.

            Silence is equal parts nostalgic, turn-of-the-decade metalcore and a contemporary penchant for all things heavy. Bloodbather use a backbone of jarring breakdowns to drive their point home on their whirlwind of an EP. From the get-go, songs like “God” and “Void” dig into the listener like a power drill, churning without letting the listener loose. “Erase” sees Bloodbather use quick percussion to segue between segments of spine-shrinking chugs, elsewhere on “Void,” the drumming works in tandem with brain-battering, lurid and gritty guitar tones to  transition between groove-tinted, sharply metallic riffs and goosebump-inducing segments of panic chord-laden aggression. “Disappear” highlights this aspect of Bloodbather’s dynamic—and sees the band at quite possibly their best. Here, the band use everything from frantically fretted leads to lurid, languishing moments of primal brutality. Throughout the five main songs on Silence, Bloodbather continue this theme, with some songs striking as more aggressive and chug-centric (“God,” “Erase”) and others more boldly incorporating metallic leads into the otherwise riveting and ruthlessly heavy firmament (“Disappear”), making the EP varied enough to satisfy listeners throughout its somewhat brief runtime.

            Where Bloodbather have made the most marked changes since their previous releases is in the vocal department. With the addition of new frontman Kyler Millo, Silence sees Bloodbather employing a more shrill and scathing vocal onslaught—this is evident from the get go of “God.” Millo’s voice, while not an enormous departure from that of Bloodbather’s prior vocalist, is enough of a tweak to add a different energy and style to the band’s brazen brand of metalcore. What’s more, is that with the shrill, piercing tones Millo uses, his lyrics take on a more horrific and aggressive attitude. This is especially true on “Disappear” and “Void,” where Millo’s lyrics offer a glimpse into the psyche of a would-be serial killer, drawing on the band’s dark, horror-influenced aesthetic to further drive home his twisted syllables. In short, while Millo may not be a technical showboat, his energy, drive and power add to Bloodbather and make Silence, again, not too silent.

            At this point in Bloodbather’s career, the only thing truly weighing them down—in my mind—is substance (or, in this case, lack thereof). Offering several extended play releases with runtimes, for the most part, sub-twenty minutes, the only complaint I have regarding Bloodbather is that there isn’t enough Bloodbather. While there were hints at Silence being a more lengthy release, plans (as they often do) changed. This isn’t to slight the band or impugn them by any means—its simply a perspective. Realistically, if the biggest complaint someone has about your music is that there isn’t enough of it, you’re probably doing the whole music thing right—and Bloodbather absolutely are. Silence is a stellar example of no-frills, no-filler all-fury metalcore spliced with elements of hardcore, deathcore and industrial atmosphere to give the listener just under 20 minutes of non-stop insanity. Heavy, catchy and energetic as all Hell, Silence is an overwhelmingly successful dialectic amalgamation of the things that make metalcore great—even if it feels like it ends all too soon.


For Fans Of: Emmure, Shame Spiral, Vein, Vatican

By: Connor Welsh