Norwegian troupe BLOOD COMMAND have always gone against the grain. For over a decade, the Bergen-based self-proclaimed ‘death-pop’ outfit have conjured an unusual blend of heavy music, touching upon everything from black metal and hardcore punk to disco and pop. Last year’s Praise Armageddonism, the first album to welcome ex-PAGAN vocalist Nikki Brumen to the fold, was a shot in the arm and firmly established BLOOD COMMAND as one of the most captivating and mesmerising bands in the game today. Now, a year later, the band are back with a simple mission objective: World Domination, the aptly-titled quick-fire follow-up to last year’s excellent effort.
Those that have been acquainted with BLOOD COMMAND will know and appreciate the band’s willingness to take risks and throw a myriad of styles and sounds into one big melting pot but World Domination sees them up this ten fold. Metal, punk, disco, R&B and countless other stylings are all in the pot on this 20-song offering and whilst it does seem that the band are throwing the kitchen sink and seeing what sticks, the most remarkable aspect of World Domination is just how well it works as a cohesive package.
The steady drip of singles have kept people on their toes as each have shown a different side to the BLOOD COMMAND soundscape, like Losing Faith‘s sombre and delicate ballad, or The Plague On Both Your Houses‘ SLAYER-worshipping riffage, blast beats and snotty punk attitude. However, in the context of the album as one solid piece, the myriad of influences and musical merit within the band’s DNA flows exceptionally well and the listening experience is perhaps one of the most engaging you’ll hear all year.
Album opener The Band With The Three Stripes – a fitting a nod to the band’s matching Adidas tracksuits and adoration towards cults – is a grand first track that slowly builds anticipation with Spaghetti Western-esque orchestration before blasting into a zippy barrage of hardcore punk as Brumen‘s ear-splitting harsh vocals carry the line with the utmost conviction. It’s a strong opening but BLOOD COMMAND are just getting started.
From there, the band waste no time in showcasing they still have enough bite behind their bark as the opening flurry of World Domination is BLOOD COMMAND at their gnarliest. Heaven’s Hate channels edge and attitude as Brumen spits spars with the utmost ease, Valley Of Hinnom blasts its way through its near one-minute runtime with enough ferocity to make even the fiercest grindcore bands stop in appreciation, and Forever Soldiers Of Esther‘s anthemic chorus, routine bouts of blast beats and thunderous riffing are all ever so slick.
When they are at their most heavy, BLOOD COMMAND are exhilarating, but as we’ve touched upon before, there is much more to the band’s musical blueprint and even when World Domination dials back on the intensity to allow their more melodic aspects to take centre stage, the impact is just as effective. Welcome To The Next Level Above Human is a rave-pumping techno interlude feels dystopian in its nature and would fit in comfortably in the Cyberpunk 2077 universe as it throws a complete curveball to kick off the album’s second half.
Burn Again feels more akin to grime and rap as the beats and spitting bars showcase another aspect to the band’s already cross-pollinating sound, whilst Decades oozes with sheer quality as the band fully embrace their R&B side and present a song that would feel right at home on mainstream radio. What this showcases is not just a band openly willing to take risk after risk, but delivering so in such a way that it never feels out of place in the context of the record as a whole.
On paper, the scatter-gun approach to World Domination shouldn’t work and the countless musical directions and detours the band follow should be its downfall. But, BLOOD COMMAND are a special band and with World Domination, they have crafted a record that is the product of their mantra. Ferocious yet comforting, blistering yet sombre, this is arguably BLOOD COMMAND at their most unique and showcases a band that are on course to smash through the glass ceiling.
World Domination is set for release on September 29th via Hassle Records/Loyal Blood Records.
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