Written In Blood is a new Dutch Death Metal band featuring ex-Vortex and ex-Mandator drummer Jos Eggens and, most prominently, ex-God Dethroned bassist Bert ‘Beef’ Hoving. When I first got into extreme metal, around the end of the 90’s, I really loved God Dethroned and I was particularly disappointed that Beef decided to leave the band because I always loved his stage presence. In the years that followed I quite regularly looked to see if he had anything new going on, but it wasn’t until recently that I found out that he had started a new band, which became Written In Blood.
Let’s first state that Written In Blood has very little to do musically with God Dethroned or Mandator and, needless to say, it bears even less resemblances with Vortex. The only thing that might vaguely remind of God Dethroned are the strong and well-played melodies that are woven throughout the whole album. But other than that, Written In Blood certainly sounds and feels like an entity of its own. Written In Blood leans on solid and diverse song writing that has some interesting tempo changes, great use of melody as well a strong sense for atmosphere. The latter shines through the best in the grand closing epic, which is definitely a surprisingly versatile piece that has completely silent parts and has a strong doomy ambiance. Other than that, Bert’s outstanding vocal delivery is adding to the diverse character of the music, with a vocal range going from spoken words, some standard growl as well as an almost Black Metal or Gothenburg-styled snarl. The music as a whole sounds quite Swedish in nature, not in the massively sounding Entombed/Dismember sort of fashion, but something that combines At The Gates, Hypocrisy and maybe even very early Amon Amarth. To the latter Written In Blood’s heathen theme also seems to fit perfectly – listen to ‘Heathens We Are’ for instance, an Amon Amarth echo is hard to deny.
If you are looking for a throughout melodic Death Metal album that has lots of diversity to offer as well as a crisp and punch sound, Written In Blood’s debut album might be an album to consider. It might not push any boundaries or cause a musical revolution, but then again, I am quite sure that Written In Blood never intended to do that anyway. This is just an honest and solid piece of Melodic Death Metal. Oh, and glad that Beef is back on the front.