History & BiographyBloodbound was assembled by former Street Talk people (Tomas and Fredrik) in the summer of 2004, but was joined by former Tad Morose singer Urban Breed in 2005. The band’s debut, a concept, boasted at least 100-channels of recordings on each song and was issued by Metal Heaven in European and Avalon in Japan. The band announced several new members all at once in May of 2006. They were guitarist Markus Albertson and drummer Pelle Åkerlind of Memento Mori fame. Vocalist Urban Breed also quit the band in order to focus on his own project in the summer of 2006. He was also ostensibly unhappy with his hired-hand status. Memento Mori’s (and indeed Tad Morose’s and Wuthering Heights) former vocalist Kristian André joined the band soon thereafter. Henrik Olsson. Tomas’ younger brother also joined on rhythm guitar. In a further twist, the band recruited German vocalist Michael Bormann (Jaded Heart, Bonfire and Rain) in March of 2007 and was writing new music. Surprisingly, singer Urban Breed who had left the band in 2006 amidst acrimony rejoined Bloodbound. The singer had been on the road with the band as well. Breed joined Pyramaze in 2008 replacing Matt Barlow who had returned to Iced Earth.
Bloodbound signed a worldwide deal with Blistering Records in late 2008. The band's third album, Tabula Rasa, was released in early 2009. Bloodbound again parted ways with vocalist Urban Breed due to "musical and personal differences" in 2010. He had been replaced him with a Patrik "Pata" Johansson. Urban Breed joined US band Dark Empire half way through 2010. Urban replaced Jens Carlsson (Persuader and Savage Circus) who had left in 2008.
Bloodbound signed a deal with Germany's AFM Records. The band's fourth album, Unholy Cross, was due in March. Bassist Johan Sohlberg has left the band however to focus on his job and has been replaced by Anders Broman. Swedish band Bloodbound released its fifth full-length album, In The Name Of Metal, on November 7th, 2012 through AFM Records. Johansson became Selleby. The album was recorded with producer Jonas Kjellgren. Bloodheads United was a mostly live 2020 EP. The Italy-based power metal band Tales And Legends, formed by Patrik J. had a 2021 demo called Struggle Of The Gods. Tales From The North was released in the summer of 2023. The title track was the subject of a music video. The band hit the German chart at position 25 and the group appeared at Masters Of Rock and Rockharz Open Air.
BLOODBOUND - TALES FROM THE NORTH - AFM
It surprises me that this is the Swedes’ tenth album already. Time flies. Tales From The North is the band’s 2023 record and the group’s seventh record for AFM. At more than 45 minutes the band is evidently not out of ideas - or enthusiasm for that matter. The material is proof.
The title track is first up and with an acoustic intro it is clear immediately that the band is not about to change. There is a formula here that works for the band and Bloodbound is not about to meander. This is heroic, upbeat, melodic, catchy music that alternates between the fast and smashing and grandiose and folk-oriented. The keyboards are everywhere, which is ghastly and silly for a metal fan. This is narrative music that invokes images of bellicose warriors of yore gathered and singing around the campfire. It could be Amorphis in its folk spirit and, as pertinently, is a story, a saga full of pomp and frilly vocalizing and arrangements.
The band loves those heroic and triumphant songs where synthesisers constantly go klang klang either in the background or the fore. The sound is generally good, but the bass drums and cymbals are modern and therefore weak. The oomph of drums is a forgotten art after all. The track is really fast in parts yet mostly mid-paced. Drink With The Gods offers more heroics. It is akin to a drinking song for the hall of the Vikings that repeats its title one too many times. Nonetheless, it establishes the band's penchant for delivering mega doses of heroic folk rock/metal with layers of vocals. It should be mentioned that Patrik J Selleby continues to do well by his band-mates. The melody, which is akin to a Celtic one underneath the bombast, would make Manowar jealous. The short high-pitched scream even sounds like old Manowar. Odin's Prayer is faster, but don’t get your hopes up. The keyboards rear their ugly heads. The band just cannot help itself. There is Fredrik Bergh and they have to do something with him. The wise metal fan would ask, ‘couldn’t he just do the additional vocals?” The wiser metal fan would ask, ‘Isn’t a Finnish kindergarten hiring a musical jester?’ The fret work is good so they need more of these solos, which the track Between The Enemy Lines offers. The Raven’s Cry is folk rock again. The melody could have stemmed from a late 1960s' psychedelic band. Mimir's Crystal Eye is fast, as in bang bang keyboard onslaught, which is why this type of crap will never be taken seriously at Metallian Towers. How much keyboards do these bands want to deploy before they are mistaken for an Alphaville cover band? The aforementioned Between The Enemy Lines is powerful and a good showcase for how tight and well practised the band is. The clear production helps the band and the tones help overall. Yet, the keyboards detract but that is not news to metal fans. Bloodbound is probably a huge hit in places like Finland and Albania. Does Albania have its own version of Eurovision? The soloing on Land Of Heroes is Dragonforce while the song itself is more Freedom Call, but there is only so much of these folk medlies a sane metaller could tolerate and, by now, one has had his fill. Sail Among The Dead is again fast and chirpy, but isolate the keyboards on a channel and they pop all over the place just like a Pet Shop Boys' song. Go West (itself a cover version), Bloodbound young man! The vocals are higher, reaching Michael Kiske moments, as is the quotient of Freedom Call on the song. Come to think of it, that right there is a good summation of this group: Freedom call plus extra Pet Shop Boys' keyboard flourishes and Helloween-gone-folk. Stake My Claims stands out for the peculiar tuning of its guitar. 1066 refers to King Harald, his year of death and the end of the Vikings. Musically, it is a mere folk melody trebled and sped up.
Normally, storytelling is interesting and welcome, yet one wishes it wasn’t so pompous and drenched in synthesizers. The influences ranging from Stratoarius to Amorphis to Pet Shop Boys and Freedom Call are evident and, in turn, it is also clear that Bloodbound has influenced Finnish acts like Frozen Land and Everfrost. The band is twenty years into its career, but the influences and sounds of Freedom Call are still prominent throughout. The Germans must be proud.
Curious about the intriguing album cover here. This is a good one and the wolf could be construed to either be a captive or bound to the fighter as a companion. The canine lover in me is hoping for the latter. - Ali “The Metallian”