Review: “Monokrator” by The Bleeding

Following the exploits of 2021 EP “Rise To Nothing” which served to introduce new bassist Jordan Muscatello as well as serve up a guest appearance from James McBain of Hellripper on the title track you might think that London Death Thrash masters The Bleeding would rest on their laurels for a moment. They had other ideas and instead entered the studio in the summer of 2022 , recording their third full length album “Monokrator” to be unleashed as the band celebrate 13 years of total annihilation having formed in October 2010. Mixed and mastered by Ronnie Björnström (Buried Realm, Sacrificium, Nightrage), who co-produced along side guitarist and main songwriter Tasos Tzimorotas, the album is adorned by stunning artwork from Mr Juanjo Castellano (Existing Threat, Vomitory Katharos)…

The bludgeoning begins with “Chemical Lobotomy” as The Bleeding build on the foundation of Gold and Bones that has seen them receive a plethora of critical acclaim. A rampaging Death Thrash masterclass, it finds Tzimorotas harnessing his inner Gary Holt and throwing down some later day Exodus style riffs, the solo in this one being an absolute *ahem* hellripper. The bass from Muscatello rises to the surface as the cut closes out which is a really nice touch as it leads into the bass solo introduction of “Chainsaw Deathcult” which is a plague wind of percussive battery as sticks man James Loh gives the likes of Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph a run for his money. What’s clever is that the bass isn’t just holding the groove but at times in the mix sounds like its playing the role of a rhythm guitar which adds another dimension to the bands sound. They transition seamlessly into Speed Metal with a blitzkrieg-like onslaught by the time this one closes out and we haven’t even mentioned the throat shredding vocals of Jamie Stungo yet. Slightly higher pitched they remind of Steve “Zetro” Souza as he rips through the lyric sheet like a demon set ablaze. Each dark tale that emanates from his throat is a vision of schizophrenic madness, the thoughts of a serial killer who if the lyric sheet was dissected by a psychologist would find him locked in Arkham Asylum, forever condemned to a padded room, wearing a straight jacket. “Mutation Chamber” is no different, a vicious little ditty from a barbed tongue that uniquely sounds both nostalgic and fresh at the same time, a guitar solo and then a bass solo back to back being master strokes as Stungo tells the tale of a mad scientist. The only cut on the album to have lyrics credited to Tzimorotas, listening to “Union of Horror” is like listening to the voice of Woody Harrelson in Natural Born Killers has he proposes to Juliette Lewis, offering a Wedding followed by a killing spree of a honeymoon to seal the deal. Violent but perhaps not as gore fuelled as you might imagine, it’s what the edge of the seat was made for.

The second half of this tsunami begins with “Screams of Torment“, a cut with a menacing and sinister edge that brings the hammer down on skulls with intensity before a solo that offers up something a little more shall we say flamboyant? An old school masterclass, the band are offering up the kind of material that others would beg to be able to create and doing it with consummate ease. Blast beats are like a jackhammer to the brain on “On Wings of Tribulation” as James Loh ensures his presence is felt on the record with arguably his finest performance on the album. His fills are impressive and free flowing, the while a shriller moment from Stungo sounds like a banshee wail on this perhaps more experimental blackened offering. Returning to their core sound for the album title track “Monokrator“, the band host their very own demolition derby with a powerhouse cut that demonstrates all of their prowess. Savagely brutal, influences from the scene that spawned Suffocation bleed through the bandages with a lethal dose of Groove Metal in the mix ensuring that there is plenty of fire for the mosh pit, all wrapped up and served with an evil grin at the tempo of the damned. The album has everything and the kitchen sink as a genre tour de force and that’s before final cut “Throes of Repulsion“, which ensures the record is all killer no filler with a virtuoso solo and razor sharp riffage cementing the band’s claim for the crown because above all, this is violent good fun… [8/10]

Track Listing

1. Chemical Lobotomy
2. Chainsaw Deathcult
3. Mutation Chamber
4. Union of Horror
5. Screams of Torment
6. On Wings of Tribulation
7. Monokrator
8. Throes of Repulsion

Monokrator” by The Bleeding is out 9th June 2023 via Redefining Darkness Records with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *