Japanese metallers find their way and move forward in a big way
I know that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I'll be damned that if it's not a tough ask when it comes to Japanese-cum-Swedish metal act, Blood Stain Child. It's only a photo but there's a distinct rasta-Flock-of-Seagulls-goth-emo-core theme going on. But it's the music that counts, and this is where new vocalist Sadew, guitarists Ryu and Shiromasa, bassist Ryo, keyboardist Aki and drummer Battery prove that looks can be deceiving. In less than a year since the release of their third album, Idolator, Blood Stain Child are back with their latest slab of Swedish influenced metal dubbed Mozaiq.
Blood Stain Child launch their latest album at a frantic pace with Exotic-6-Cordinator and once again, they bring their Swedish flavoured metal to the fold. It certainly sounds familiar but the electronica fuelled break midway certainly shows that the criticisms of the past may have not fallen upon deaf ears. Sure, it's a little strange to hear what should be played in a nightclub appear anywhere on a metal album let alone in the middle of a song, but it does offer some character and uniqueness to Blood Stain Child's material, which was desperately needed. The In Flames, Children Of Bodom and Soilwork-isms are still blatant with Cyber Green, the slower Freedom and the suitably titled Energy Blast confirming as such, but the lead breaks and fancy, atmospheric keyboard work of each ensures that the band's new found air of originality continues.
However, it doesn't quite all go to plan as it sounds like Daft Punk have had a say in the excessively electronic Pitch Black Room, before things are clearly back on track with the top shelf Another Dimension and the stomping Metropolice. Songs like C.E.0079 benefit from the keyboard interludes, and even if they are a part of every track on here, the fact is that each of them is clearly unique and that is what aids each song in not just sounding like another Soilwork reject. Innocence introduces some subtle female vocals that work well, although that is the only thing fresh to this point, and Peacemaker sounds like a chaotic remix mess suffering from a little too much electronica. The last official track is the up tempo Neo-Gothic-Romance which sees the band find the right mix of metal and electronica once again, whilst the Europeans and at least us Aussies (and any other territories that receive the Euro version of the album) are treated to the addition a bonus track, Cosmic Highway, which is also true to the band's revamped form.
Leaps and bounds! That's the only way to describe the improvement that Blood Stain Child have shown musically with Mozaiq. New vocalist Sadew fits the mould perfectly and musically, they've stepped up and shown that they are more than just another Soilwork or In Flames clone. The influences are still strongly shown, but Mozaiq is quite possibly the best representation of the band to date. They still need to sort out the image issues, as it is not indicative of what they are about and I suspect it would put many off, and that's unfortunate, because fans of melodic Scandinavian metal should be all over this one.
(Dockyard 1/Riot! Entertainment)