Tabula Rasa - Reviews

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"'Tabula Rasa' is their finest work to date. Highly recommended!

... Now, with 'Tabula Rasa' (Latin: blank slate), Bloodbound seems to be starting afresh. If anything, this album blends the best of the two former albums without the tedious references to the Prince of Darkness. Eleven songs pass for review, and most are a fine mix of melodic heavy and power metal. The standouts being the title track, 'Dominion 5,' 'Master Of My Dreams,' and 'Night Touches You.'

With Urban Breed (Tad Morose, Pyramaze) back on lead vocals, it seems that Bloodbound has worked hard on the vocal arrangements; they're meticulous and extravagant on 'Master of My Dreams,' 'Dominion 5,' and the powerful semi-ballad 'Night Touches You.' ... " 4,5/5

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"Highly Recommended.

It's hard to believe this is the same band who recorded the marvelous Maiden-tinged Nosferatu, or the good yet riddled with filler Book of the Dead. With the return of the legendary Urban Breed to the microphone, Sweden's Bloodbound seem to have ushered in a new sound. Long gone is the almost 80's rock-like sound of its predecessor. Tabula Rasa is a much darker affair blending Gothenburg-like riffage with Power Metal leads, brilliant song structures and haunting hooks. Urban Breed really delivers here – what did you expect though? He's the fucking man. There's nothing more heart-warming than to see a band you'd nigh on written off to defy all expectations and record the album of their career. Heavy in all the right places but never sacrificing the melodies that had made their debut album such a charming ordeal, it seems Bloodbound have finally found their place in the metal world. ... " 4,5/5

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review By Criss (9/10)

I just got my copy a few days ago. It's all pretty new to me, so my review is more or less based on the first impression. Also did I not pay enough attention to the lyrics yet, but the concept of Tabula Rasa is quite interesting, so I will take a closer look at the lyrics for sure.

Well, the album is much heavier than I expected it to be. Still the melodies might prevail, mostly due to Urban's great vocals. There are also a lot nice guitar leads and solos, but the riffs and drums are much more powerful and heavier than on Nosferatu.

To me this album is a big step forward! On Nosferatu most songs remind me of Iron Maiden and Helloween. On the other hand, those songs are played with so much easiness and passion that they always put a smile on my face. So I never think about the influences, I just enjoy the songs played that well.

On Tabula Rasa I do not sense this feeling of easiness anymore. But the album sounds a lot more self-contained, which is really appreciated. The excessively used galloping rhythm on Nosferatu is almost not evident anymore. And the new heaviness along with Urban's catchy melodies really sound like a great match. The first five songs in particular are the best that bloodbound have recorded thus far. I also think the quality of the lyrics is much better now, though this thought is only based on the lyrics of Take One (as I said, I didn’t read all the lyrics yet).

So, here's my view on the songs in detail:

  • Sweet Dreams of Madness

Actually the only song where I really notice the keyboard in. The melodies (guitar and vocals) are so catchy, can't get them out of my head anymore. Also the bridge is quite interesting, has some nice tempo changes. Great and powerful opening track!

  • Dominion 5

Maybe the best song on the album. Great fast paced intro riff, amazing verse (staccato riff and Urban's vocals), nice slower bridge and a really catchy chorus. Dream on, dream on... Urban's doing an amazing job here. Yet another great solo ending in a sweet slower part (at about 3:30), just amazing!

  • Take One

I heard that one already when it was posted here on the forum, it's quite representative for the whole album. It might be the heaviest song, due to the staccato rhythm throughout the whole song. Especially the lead guitar supporting Urban's line during the second part of the verse is amazing. Urban is doing a great job on that song as well! However, the best part is the ending: hand it out once more, more, more, more, more, more, hand it out once more. That gives this song some more power.

  • Tabula Rasa

Another great guitar riff. It's still interesting though the staccato rhythm is evident in the verse again. The chorus is really awesome, also the short moment of silence right before it, then the guitar and Urban enter again. Simply amazing!

  • Night Touches You

Boah, really a stunning ballad, I also love the heavy part right before the first verse, makes it somewhat more interesting. Amazing vocals throughout, especially the chorus is awesome. Also the verses are very interesting, never heard Urban's voice that clear, clean and soft before (apart from another new, yet unreleased song). Up to now I thought that Matt Barlow is the singer with the most emotion. I have to admit, I'm not sure about that anymore.

  • Tabula Rasa pt II

Though I listened closely I couldn't figure out the part with the keys Urban posted in some other thread. Another good song, but yet not as catchy as the previous songs or Tabula Rasa pt I in particular. Though the chorus filled with Urban's emotion is again outstanding.

  • Plague Doctor

Great intro riff, also nice switch to double time (in the verse) after the guitar effect. The verse is not too catchy and the bridge is probably the weakest one on the album, but the chorus makes up for it. Another nice and fast solo, especially the end with the accented drums is great.

  • Master of my Dreams

The riff in the verse reminds of some other song on the album – Dominion 5 I believe. Just like the previous two tracks quite a good song, but it doesn't blow me away like (especially) the first five songs of the album. The bridge at 2:10 is amazing though, nice riffs over a cool bass line.

  • Twisted Kind of Fate

Great intro, drums and crunching guitars, then the BASS! To me it's the highlight of the second half of the album.

  • All Rights Reserved

Nice fade-in, drums in off-beat, sounds pretty interesting. Really amazing tempo changes throughout the song, played so smooth that I almost do not recognize when they actually are happening. Only the ending is somewhat abrupt.

Hm, Tabula Rasa is not as catchy as Nosferatu at first glance, but – to me - that is not a bad thing at all. Usually I like albums like that much more because they don't get boring even after a hundred spins. Actually, most songs of Nosferatu still don't get boring, though I played it a lot over the last months.

After all it's really a great album with not a single weak song on it. Only the second half of the album lacks a little bit of variety in my opinion. And at the moment it seems that the first five songs are much more catchy than the others. That might change after a few more spins though, we'll see.

Generally speaking, great work guys, much appreciated!!!


(Criss, May 2009)