The Blessed (formerly Cradle of God) was formed in Novomoskovsk, Russia in 2012 and originally took its name from the book Cradle of God written by British author Llewelyn Powys in 1929. The album Remember was recorded using only live instruments and no keyboards and contains songs that date back to 2014 with “Children of God” and “Arise from the Dead” appearing on the band’s first ep released in January 2015. In June of that same year, the band changed its name to The Blessed and the full length album Remember was released in late 2016. Founder and singer Dmitry “Cross” Yusin tells of the lyrics being taken from the New Testament combined with personal reflections and set to melodic death metal in the hopes of showing listeners the consequences of their actions and how the real rebellion is to be against the things of this world.
“Children of God” kicks off the album and the opening guitars and drums sound more like this is going to be a grindcore album, but then some melody comes in for the main verse sections of the song it quickly becomes recognizable as melodic death metal. Drums do still play a big role in driving the song along with much of it filled with blast beats, but there is more to the song and it picks up a bit of a groove at one point. Vocals are mostly a gravelly, raspy growl with some clean choral backing vocals offering some contrast. Production quality is good with drums and bass more present than is typically the case, giving the songs a good punch.
I do struggle to describe the overall sound of the band here and every time I think I have the perfect band in mind to describe what I’m hearing, The Blessed take the song in a different direction, which is a testament to the song writing here. “Cross of Christ” increases the speed a bit with some double bass drumming keeping things moving between blast beat sections and that carries on with “Jesus Says”. Looking at the tracks, I’ve also noticed a bit of maturity in the band showing through as the two oldest songs are the shortest and in some ways the most predictable although there are definite elements of black metal mixed in with the melodic death metal.
“Remember (The Demons Also Believe and Shudder)” slows the tempo down quite a bit compared to other songs on the album and adopts a riff and accompanying drum backing that is literally pounding. Some inventive bass drum patterns appear from time to time throughout the song but what really gives the song that heavy feeling is the use of silence. Every note/chord/drum hit throughout the song has a sense of purpose and as a result there are short bursts of silence scattered throughout where normally there would be a bass line or melodic guitar riff to fill the silence. “Salvation” has similar elements in it as well which help break up sections that are more similar to black metal with the droning, buzzsaw-like guitars.
As if the slowness was too much, “Wake Up” returns the pace to what it was before “Remember…”although it too features a stripped down slower section similar to “Remember”. “Coming” starts out with some slow acoustic guitar but then literally explodes in flurry of fast riffs and blast beats before settling into the pounding rhythms that have characterized other songs previously. A fast melodic section comes into play later in the track, which also features some ominous spoken vocals. Interestingly, the acoustic guitar comes back into play and then shifts to the distorted metal guitars before going away entirely for a bit leaving just the bass and drums to carry the song. “Trials” has perhaps the most driving riff and rhythm of the songs on the album and will certainly get the heads banging and best of all are the supporting drums, bass, and other guitar as they all add different layers to the overall sound. One of the best aspects of a song like this is that it is somewhat longer, nearing six minutes as that gives the band room to work that driving rhythm and riff into multiple sections where it seems to become stronger each time the band returns to it.
The Blessed are definitely on to something good here with this album. Not only are there strong performances on the album but also some quality song writing and arrangements that keep the listener engaged. I look forward to hearing more from them.
Written by John Jackson
01. Children of God
02. Cross of Christ
03. Jesus Says
04. Remember (The Demons Also Believe and Shudder)
05. Wake Up
09. Arise from the Dead
Band Members (for live shows)
Thunder – Bass
Hammer – Drums
Sad – Guitars
Stone – Guitars
Cross – Vocals
Record Label: Independent, Dec. 2016
Interview with The Blessed (April 2017)
Video for ‘Salvation’ (live)
Video for ‘Remember’ (live)