BLOOD - THE REAPER BEHIND ME

review - 06.05.2008 22:00

BLOOD's first album from their "Symphony of Chaos" concept.

BLOOD's first full length album in their "Symphony of Chaos" concept comes in the form of a two disc set that is sure to have something for old and new fans alike. Along with various remixes from foreign artists, this release is a prime example of the band's skill and versatility.

The first disc opens with a short, haunting instrumental entitled FROM THE DEAD WORLD... which leads almost flawlessly in to CRIMSON. Deep, pulsing drum beats punctuate fu-ki's gently flowing vocals. While the music on this track is fairly dark, fu-ki's voice helps to soften the overall mood, creating a nice balance on this danceable track.

THE REAPER BEHIND ME starts with a chiming intro and dives right in to the industrial sound that BLOOD's current concept is all about. With synthesized background sounds and almost delicate guitar riffs, this is one of the most interesting songs on the CD. FOLLOW has the same sort of haunting sound that the CD's opening instrumental presented. Sparse, but steady drum beats highlight the music while Kiwamu's guitar solo about halfway through provides a raw contrast compared to fu-ki's smooth, powerful vocals.

A track that combines BLOOD's gothic roots with their newer industrial side is DEAD-HEARTED. It makes use of stand-out bass lines, courtesy of Kaede, and a melodic chorus where their varied themes and concepts meet to make a fascinating song.

A synthesized opening throws the listener in to CHAIN, a hard hitting industrial dance song that's driven largely by heavy drumming and the bass. fu-ki's voice soars over the multitudinous synthesized sounds, each fading out through the song's ending. BLOOD, which features EXO-CHIKA from Aural Vampire, opens on darkly throbbing bass. The mellow beginning with fu-ki's voice enters just before the music picks up and EXO-CHIKA joins him for a stunning, moving chorus. The second verse is also sung by the female vocalist, her soft voice seeming to waver subtly against the intense music. Providing beautiful harmonies, fu-ki's and EXO-CHIKA’s vocals really make this track a memorable one.

With an almost lighthearted orchestral instrumental as it's start, IT'S OVER's use of strings and piano holds vast appeal for those who might not be as interested in heavily synthesized music. These sounds serve as a refreshing background for fu-ki's breathy vocals and, in combination with impressive bass and guitar playing, they call even more attention to an already exceptional track.

WALL OF GRIEF's steady tempo makes it another danceable tune. Accelerated bridges and digital sound effects, which lay just under the surface of the music, give the listener numerous layers to enjoy. Though fu-ki's voice does not stand out as much on this track, the music itself more than makes up for it. What listeners will likely remember about ESCAPE are fu-ki's warped, filtered vocals. An element that is not often noticeable in BLOOD's music, it is perfectly suited for the tone of this song. While the words are sung somewhat slowly, the thumping drum and bass rhythm leads the song at a quicker pace, which creates a strange but interesting mood for the track.

An older BLOOD song, SWEETEST DISEASE will take longtime fans on a trip back to the roots of the band while those new to their music will get a glimpse of "2nd Period" BLOOD with the addition of the band's current style. Re-recorded with fu-ki's vocals, the quality of the song is increased and a digitalized, industrial take really brings the song in to the band’s current concept. This classic-made-new will remain a memorable favorite.

Featuring Austrian singer, Emily Rose, FOUNTAIN OF BLOOD sounds much like a sorrowful love song. With Emily's high, clear voice lingering in the background, the compliment to fu-ki's voice is incredible and they play well off of each other. The piano parts are particularly lovely, but the track as a whole is a definite standout on the CD, not only because it sounds so completely different from the other songs, but because the overall composition and combination of sounds working together is outstanding. Rounding out the first disc is another instrumental, AND HE TOOK HER SOUL... It is a dark, resounding piece that finishes the CD nicely.

Disc two is a compilation of remixes from many of the artists that BLOOD has worked with. These tracks give the listener a chance to hear BLOOD with a touch of style from these various sources.

There are three different mixes of CHAIN alone, each sounding nothing like the other. CHAIN (BLUE BIRDS REFUSE TO FLY mix) starts off slow, then kicks in to an upbeat, almost techno track, while CHAIN (GPK MIX), at over seven minutes long, pumps along, just as danceable, but with the added baroque essence that GPKISM is known for. For heavier tastes, CHAIN (Cursed mix by Spectrum-X) has a creeping, menacing feel throbbing behind the soaring vocals. The guitar work on this mix is particularly appealing, making this one of the best mixes on the CD.

DANSE MACABRE (Virgins O.R. Pigeons mix) is a somewhat stripped down version of the original. With a minimal opening, the music blossoms in to a mellow dance song and finishes on a nice clean note.

BLOOD (more sake mix by The Last Dance) and its counterpart BLOOD (decimatored beat mix by Calmando Qual) are both interesting mixes: the former is slightly lighter in sound than the latter. The first plays with heavier elements, but still leaves plenty of room for the vocals to shine, while the second almost smothers the original song in raw industrial effects. Though this isn’t the best mix on the CD, there’s something about the way the vocals manage to float up through the harsh music that begs attention.

DEAD-HEARTED (brontide mix by Anny-K and DEAD-HEARTED (No Mercy Mix by In-Tranzit) both maintain an industrial dance feel, but the mix by In-Tranzit pulls the song much further from its original sound. It brings heavier music to the forefront and uses fu-ki's voice as an echoing sort of background. This is another highlight on the disc.

fu-ki's voice once again echoes in the background of WALL OF GRIEF (DJ dora mix. While not impressive, the mix does have its high points, one of which is a nice little break from the hyper music. The last mix, CRIMSON (hell bunt over necropolis mix by siva six) employs raspy whispering vocals in place of the usually soaring ones, giving this song an otherworldly dimension that works well in this style.

A thrilling addition to BLOOD's discography, THE REAPER BEHIND ME is a feast for the ears, both the original versions of the band's songs, and the remixes provided by the numerous bands and artists that BLOOD has worked with. Easily combining BLOOD's past in gothic music with their new industrial concept, this release is certainly a great look in to their world.
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