Blood Command – ‘World Domination’

By Ash Bebbington

If you were to describe the latest Blood Command album in a word, ‘ambitious’ would be a top contender. This is probably a word the band themselves would be comfortable with too, it is named ‘World Domination’ after all. This is their second album in as many years following 2022’s superb ‘Praise Armageddonism’, and their second with vocalist Nikki Brumen, who relocated from Melbourne, Australia to Bergen to join the Norwegian party rockers.

‘World Domination’ is an exercise in extremes, featuring some of the heaviest material they have ever put out sitting alongside some of their most heartfelt and melodic. Metal and hardcore influences sit front and centre, but there are some surprising nods to electronic and hip-hop music in the mix as well. Simply put, this album is the sound of a band wearing its eclectic mix of influences proudly on its Adidas tracksuit sleeve. It is the most daring body of work Blood Command has ever put its name to.

If that makes you think there’s a lot happening on ‘World Domination’, you’d be right; the album has a stonking 20 songs in total. 11 of these are under 90 seconds in length, so it’s not as if this is a 2-hour prog record, but it’s still a lot to absorb when you listen for the first time.

Despite this, if you’re already a fan of the band, some tracks will be instant favourites. Opener ‘The Band With Three Stripes’ – a nod to their onstage attire, all-black Adidas sportswear – starts in suitably bombastic fashion with a trumpet fanfare. This quickly gives way to a pacy, heavy track, featuring Brumen’s trademark yelps and gang vocals.

‘Forever Soldiers of Esther’ is also likely to be a fan favourite, showcasing what this current iteration of the band does so well; melding chaotic punk rock aggression with massive pop choruses. What really pulls it all together is Brumen’s vocal performance; she brings so much attitude and personality to both her screamed and clean vocals.

‘Bare Witness’ is another belter, built around metallic riffing as Brumen shrieks over the top. If you’re a sucker for a mosh call, you’ll have a blast with this one as the band yells “I would never wanna be with you,” in unison.

As previously mentioned, a lot of the songs on ‘World Domination’ are on the shorter side, but some feel like they would’ve benefited from being a little longer. ‘Stay Awake’, for example, builds really nicely, but feels like it would’ve been taken to the next level by throwing in a few different ideas. On many occasions though, the shorter runtime works well – ‘… In the Shadow Of Deaf’ is a 50 second explosion of white-hot punk fury, and ‘Reap What You Sow’ is half a minute of chaos that many hardcore bands will wish they’d written.

‘World Domination’ certainly isn’t shy of creative risks. The album’s first left turn comes in the form of scuzzy electronic number ‘Welcome to the Next Level Above Human’. It’s a surprising choice but it fits the overall pacy and aggressive tone of the record. Weirder still is the hip hop turn on ‘Burn Again’, a bold decision but one that feels a little out of place.

One risk that plays off in spades, however, is the dreamlike poppy soundscape of ‘Decades’, which sees Brumen croon about unrequited love over the top of ethereal synths. Going into a Blood Command record, you wouldn’t expect there to be a song like this at all, less so that it would be one of the best tracks on it. But that is certainly the case here.

There is a lot to like about ‘World Domination’, and the Norwegian punks have added plenty of songs to their arsenal that will sound incredible in a live environment. Indeed, some of the tracks on here are among the best they’ve ever written however, as a whole piece, the album feels a little disjointed. There’s a lot going on which, given the short length of some of the tracks, makes listening to it front to back a bit of a whiplash-inducing experience. However, when it clicks, it really clicks. Bergen’s finest have their sights set on nothing less than world domination – don’t bet against them.

ASH BEBBINGTON

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