Perseverance – it is one of the many words that defines and characterizes metal. Whether it be a band sticking it out through constant lineup changes, staying the course despite financial woes and clashes with family commitments and necessary day jobs, or pressing on through all the pitfalls and pains of constant touring, metal acts must be relentlessly single-minded in their pursuit of success; even if that success is meager when measured against the bygone era of major labels fully and diversely representing music of all genres, big and small, metal included.
Succinctly, metal has become a labor of love, not one of significant financial windfalls, and if you truly love metal, you stick to it, demons of the industry be damned. Such is the case with Viersen, Germany’s melodic death metal quintet Battlesword, who have been chopping away steadily at the tree for twenty years now. Despite past lineup issues and extensive hibernation periods, Battlesword have doggedly returned in 2019 with their third full-length effort, And Death Cometh Upon Us (MDD Records/Black Sunset), and if the modern popularity of acts like Amon Amarth and Kalmah are any indication, the world should prepare itself for the long overdue arrival of Battlesword.
Evocative, powerful, and persistent, And Death Cometh Upon Us is Battlesword’s declaration to the world that they are here and more than ready to conquer. Featuring ten tracks of aggressive, quarrelsome melodic death metal, And Death Cometh Upon Us is like the soundtrack to a Norseman raid. With easily understood vocals and lyrics, and fittingly composed chord progressions, Battlesword adeptly evokes imagery of praying to pagan gods amongst windswept fjords, taking to the violent seas amidst the splash of spray over dragon-shaped prows, and ancient, deadly, hand-to-hand combat.
Although the production on And Death Cometh Upon Us could’ve been cleaner and clearer, what is clear is that Battlesword have put out an album worthy of respect and praise, and that should garner this veteran five-piece some well-earned global attention. Some of the finest selections out of the bunch include “Bloodmorning”, the ascendant guitarwork of “Through Thy Shadows”, the fury-filled “Ageless, I’m Reborn”, and the compelling “Once”.
All in all, even with the production leaving something to be desired, Battlesword’s And Death Cometh Upon Us is quite enjoyable, so don’t pass it up!
You can listen to the aforementioned “Bloodmorning” by pressing play below - and be sure to visit Battlesword on the web, purchase the new album, and spread the word! \m/
Rating: 8.25 / 10
Release Date: November 22nd, 2019 (MDD Records/Black Sunset)
Influences and Contemporaries: Amon Amarth, Unleashed, At The Gates, Wulfgar, Evocation, Valhalore, Kalmah, Wolfheart