Sweden's BLOODBATH just keeps on churning out their modernized old school (if that makes any sense) brand of death metal. Yet the detractors are sure to bitch when they find out that new EP "Unblessing the Purity" no longer includes what many considered to be the driving force of the act, Dan Swanö. But I'm not here to judge the merits of that decision, unless of course he caused a noticeable drop in quality from "Nightmares Made Flesh" to "Unblessing the Purity", and I wouldn't go that far. OPETH's Mikael Åkerfeldt's steps in for HYPOCRISY's Peter Tägtgren and gives an awe-inspiring death metal vocal performance too.
The follow up to that fine full-length holds its own and the four-song, 15-minute EP is well written and devastatingly heavy. Though "Nightmares Made Flesh" isn't exactly lo-fi, the edges still have some roughness and the blades are serrated. For as overwhelmingly heavy as "Unblessing the Purity" may be, the recording does sound a bit slicker. However, I don't find it to be a problem and in fact, there is a thickness and fluidity to the recording that gives it a somewhat unique sound. The rhythm section of bassist Jonas Renske (KATATONIA) and Martin "Axe" Axenrot (OPETH) is warm, fat and full of thud.
The quartet of dark ditties is well written and unrelentingly brutal. The combination of blasting destructiveness, morose chords, and compositional shifting on "Blasting the Virginborn" works exceedingly well. The leads are ominous as hell, something you'll find on every song. In fact, "Mouth of Empty Praise" boasts an especially alluring guitar solo that serves as a kind melancholy contrast to the angriness heard everywhere else. Those eerie tones are heard yet again on "Weak Aside", a dense, crunching tune that is even moderately catchy. "Sick Salvation" may be the best of the bunch, a song led by one of the EP's most muscular riffs. Something about Åkerfeldt's vocals — the inflection and some of the patterns – vaguely reminded me of something that Piotr and VADER might do.
"Unblessing the Purity" is a convenient disc to have around when you need a quick death metal fix, but don't feel like indulging for 35 minutes. I wouldn't pick the EP over "Nightmares Made Flesh", but there is no question that BLOODBATH's quality standard has been met with this one. I'm interested to hear the next full-length.