Painted in Blood
Murder Machine Records
Reviewed By Justin Donnelly
Original? No. The band's best yet? By a long shot
I’ll be the first to admit that Wollongong (N.S.W., Australia) based outfit Segression have never really impressed me that much. Sure, there have been moments where I’ve found the odd song enjoyable, but for the most part, I couldn’t help but feel that the band have been nothing more than a band that’s struggled to find an identity that they could truly call their own. Instead, they seemed to adopt whatever style happened to be popular at the time, which ultimately makes them look like a second rate copy of something far stronger sounding.
Three years on from their comeback album (2011’s Never Dead), Segression (who now comprise of vocalist/bassist Chris Rand, guitarists Mick “MK” Katselos and Sven Sellin and drummer Adam “ADZ” Bunnell) has returned with their sixth full-length effort Painted in Blood. And it’s the kind of album that’s bound to take many by surprise.
The opening title track (which is also the first song to be given the promotional video clip treatment) is a crushing effort that clearly sets the tone of the album in both style and direction. Laced with thick Lamb of God like grooves, and boasting some truly aggressive growls from Rand (the likes of which have never been heard before on any Segression album in the past); “Painted in Blood” is by far the heaviest the band have ever sounded. Thankfully, the rap influences of the bands past work have been ditched, and Rand’s clean vocal harmonies in the choruses sound stronger and work well at giving the song a bit of change from the relentless bludgeoning assault.
The follow-up track, “Refuse to React”, and the faster paced “Killing Kingdom” follow a similar path laid down by the opener, but with a touch more variation on the guitar riff front, while the catchy/heavily grooved “Grounded” is as close to anything the band get to in terms of revisiting their past. And yet it’s still head and shoulders stronger in song writing quality than anything they’ve done previously.
A personal favourite on the album is “Pale Beneath” with its tribal infused drum patterns, broader sense of dynamics in the production and impressive solo, while “War Cry”, the melodic “Scar Me Now”, “Higher” (which again showcases some great clean vocals from Rand), and the slow building closer “Burn This Ending” are further picks worthy of pointing out.
While Painted in Blood is far from a perfect album (the album’s overall Lamb of God sound is a little too much at times, and the production from Rand and Sellin comes across as a little uneven at times), it is without any doubt the strongest sounding release to emerge from Segression to date.