Swedish power metal band Bloodbound always seemed to have a bit of an identity crisis. While the band shuffled through various sounds from traditional power metal (“Nosferatu”, “Book of the Dead”, and “Unholy Cross”) to a more progressive sound (“Tabula Rasa”, also their masterpiece), to a Dream Evil-inspired sound (“In The Name of Metal”), it seems like they’ve finally settled on their current phase with their most recent records. “War of Dragons” picks up where “Stormborn” left off, and is an album featuring heavy Sabaton worship. All of the songs on this record consist of massive choruses that are clearly inspired by Bloodbound’s Swedish counterparts. At times, the similarities are too obvious to dismiss, but that might just be because this is a fairly limited style (Sabaton often repeat themselves, and Powerwolf, another band in this vein, also puts forth the same album every 2-3 years).
Despite the fact that Bloodbound has zoned in on this poppy sound, they are very good at it. Many of the songs on this record can compete with even the strongest Sabaton tracks, and the fact that Bloodbound’s singer has a much higher range will likely appeal to more typical power metal fans. He has no problem hitting some insane screams, but he also has enough power in his voice to pull off harder-hitting efforts like “Stand and Fight”.
The three standouts are “Battle In The Sky”, “Tears of a Dragonheart”, and especially “Stand and Fight”. These songs are driven by absurdly catchy choruses, and upbeat tempos. They often have fun, bouncy rhythms and are built for festival crowds to sing along to. “King of Swords” is also a noticeable track simply for its balls-out approach that features Patrik Johansson screaming his lungs out for much of the song. Most songs on the record open with the chorus, featuring huge keyboards and a memorable vocal line, and then move into either pounding mid-paced rhythms, or speedy militaristic beats.
The only time that Bloodbound does anything substantially different on this record is on “Silver Wings”, where they incorporate some folkier elements into their sound, as substantial parts of this song are led by a Nightwish-esque melody. The result is effective, and a nice change from an otherwise one-dimensional record. It may sound like an indictment of the band that “War of Dragons” is essentially a Sabaton record with a more diverse singer, but it’s really more of a compliment. There aren’t any other similar sounding bands that can compete with Sabaton, and Bloodbound absolutely can. If you’re a fan of one of these groups, you’ll be a fan of the other, and that means there are a lot of people that need to hear “War of Dragons”!
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"Battle In The Sky"
"Tears of a Dragonheart"
"Stand and Fight"
4.3/5 or 86%.
Written by Scott