Review: Bloodletter – Under The Dark Mark

It’s only a matter of time before Bloodetter gets picked up by a label. Their new full-length Under The Dark Mark is heavy on the modern thrash sound with songs that get in, fuck you up for about two minutes, and leave before the next one shows up. If you’re a fan of bands like Vektor, Black Fast, and Havok, then you’re going to dig this one.

Comparing Bloodletter to the aforementioned bands leads one to a logical conclusion – they’ve got riffs. Which is extremely true. Under The Dark Mark seamlessly blends sudden flares of death metal, tremolo-picked insanity, and harmonies that wouldn’t be out of place in Children Of Bodom into each track without ever feeling jarring. Just take a stroll through the intros of a few songs and it’s apparent Bloodletter can hook you in damn near instantly. After the intro “Nocturne” is “March To The End,” which kicks off with machine-gun blasts of guitar matching alternating waves of kick drum and snare. Then there’s “Beyond Belief” and its straightforward driving barrage of everything at once and I’m not convinced “Beast In Black” wasn’t written as a speed metal garage demo back in the mid-1980s.

Bloodletter also effectively drops out portions of the band at certain points to make sections hit even harder. The best use is about halfway through “The Seance,” everyone goes silent to let one riff play overtop a little feedback and then joins in en masse to ensure only the most violent of pits.

Under The Dark Mark didn’t come here to party and play fun riffs while you and your friends drink beers and talk about the finer points of Municipal Waste. It’s here to eviscerate you and everyone else within earshot. This is thrash metal for those who want unbroken, vicious, and bloody speed.

Bloodletter has been honing their craft since 2012 with a handful of EP and demo releases, so Under The Dark Mark being jam-packed with interesting writing isn’t a surprise. Bloodletter operates effectively as a band and does an excellent job transitioning between styles and ideas. The one thing that kept me coming back to Under The Dark Mark was its ability to be constantly break-neck fast without ever feeling rehashed or bored with itself. Bloodletter plays like they just wrote any and every track ten minutes beforehand and they could not be more stoked to show you. It’s also the type of record where every song you’ll come away remembering something until you’ve got the whole record down to memory. It’s refreshing to hear a new(ish) thrash band come out and do something that didn’t just feel like it was jumping on the bandwagon.

The only real issue with Under The Dark Mark is the monotony of the vocals. Don’t get me wrong, Peter Carparelli’s aggressive bark fits Bloodletter‘s music perfectly. They’d just be a little better off in the future offering different vocal styles, whether that be with another vocalist on hand or Carparelli even doing some Dave Davidson and David DiSanto impressions.

Under The Dark Mark is solid. There’s absolutely no filler or bullshit in its 27 minute run time to disengage you from all the savage music. And if Bloodletter can improve upon themselves on whatever full-length they crank out next, I would genuinely be surprised if a record label like Prosthetic didn’t come knocking.

Buy Under The Dark Mark here.

Under The Dark Mark was listened to via Tidal streaming through ROON. Audio was streamed through an AudioQuest DragonFly Black v1.5 into Sennheiser HD 598 Cs Closed-Back Headphones.

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