Album two for Costa Rica melodic death metallers ADVENT OF BEDLAM shows that the band has the chops and skills to start competing with some of the heavy hitters of the genre (and this isn’t melodic in a “where’s me frilly shirt?” way, just that some of the riffs stick in a way that bands like IN FLAMES or AT THE GATES once stuck their riffs to the listener, wrapped in barbed wire, the melodies deceptive more than seductive). Opener ‘Nimrod’s Rebellion’ (which is either a really goofy song title or something that makes me think of DECAPITATED for some reason) (before that band started their weirdo black sinkhole decline into MESHUGGAH clonism) has it all: the starts, the stops, the dizzying riffs, the blasting parts, the great drum work, the 4:44 time… it’s everything a death metal guy could want. Except for a solid production, as the demo-level qualities of the sonics here really get in the way of the overall experience. Some of the rawness—on the drums, for example—actually sounds alright; it’s just the way it all meshes together that isn’t quite there. But take away the production and this 35-minute disc is awesome: totally impressive playing and songwriting, a nice sense of restraint and dynamics (the excellent ‘Tyrannicide’), and even cool solos and melodies (‘Purification Through Pain’).