Friday, November 28, 2014

Bloodbath: "Grand Morbid Funereal

This Swedish death metal band is a super group of sorts. Most of the members are from two bands that are no longer playing metal Opeth and Katatonia. I think my feelings about Katatonia are pretty well known on this site, after all we even interviewed their drummer. Opeth however...well lets say I couldn't get through the album in order to review it. So taking the sum of it's parts into consideration  and adding Paradise Lost vocalist into the equation, the result are surprisingly pretty straight forward. I'm not sure when the last time was that listened to Paradise Lost, I'm guessing the 90's. So  I really only Holmes from when the band made the awkward transition over into clean vocals. He is relativly convincing here.

"Total Death Exhumed" is the first song that really catches my attention. It has some catchy riffage. The intro to "Anne" really sounds like Morbid Angel. Which is not a bad thing. It means there has to be a heavy hook in the mix somewhere. It goes without saying this album is well played. The last time I caught these guys Akerfeldt was still growling for them. It never hit me that Jonas was playing bass for them. He is pretty buried in the mix. For the drummer to be a member of Opeth I expect a little more bombast and flash from him, but it's the guitar that dominates this album. They don't have your typical Swedish sound as this does not sound like Dissection or At the Gates.

They take a doomier turn on "Church of Vasitas". The crunch only last for so long until it takes an even deeper grind. The vocal accents on this one are pretty grime spewing. Though the rest of the album is very big and sparkling in it's production, which you would expect given the status of the members. I remember wondering when I saw Nick was singing for them, if this was going to come with a goth metal sound, but that is pretty minimal. "Famine of God's Word" continues to beat you with old school Morbid Angel style death metal. What is interesting is that most younger bands who take influence from Morbid Angel want to sound like Altars of Madness era, where as the veterans have more of a "Covenant" thing going on here. However neither guitarist is really much of a shredder. The stabs at it that they do take on songs like  "Mental Abortion" is  pretty effective for a dynamic shift. Other some of the beats are really straight forward. the punches in the chorus make up for this in "Mental Abortion and other spot in the album.. They do lean on that very punk snare beat, that Metallica made popular on Kill "Em All.

One of the album's hardest hitting songs is "Beyond cremation" that almost has a black metal feel to it. This is also one of the first songs the drummer gets to cut loose on. Normally for this sort of thing the drummer is really in the spot light, you would think more so as the verse riff has a tinge of Slayer to it. "His Infernal Necropsy" has to darken things up with a title like that. The Morbid Angel returns on this song. The lyrics for this album seem like the same horror movie like take on the occult. The band does go ape shit from the onset of "Unite in Pain" before locking into one of the albums best moments which is the Reign in Blood like chug that leads in.It sets the rest of the band up to punch a hook into your face. The straight ahead path they are on begins to wear on me by the times the blast beats of "My Torturer" kick up. When it slows down into the solo it's more tolerable.

The title track that closes the album out is a pretty massive chug. The robotic effects on the vocals are pretty cool. I thin if they had pulls more of these kind of tricks out of there sleeves the album would have have more dynamic scope. Some of the gothy samples go down on this one creating a very "Where the Slime Live" type of feeling when the rest of the band kicks in. Overall pretty meat and potatoes, if you are a fan of the band then don't fear, Nick is well behaved and leaves the goth at home. I'll give it a 7.5 as it could stand to be a little more adventurous considering this is the Swedish Metal cream of the crop. Fans of the band go ahead and tack on another point.


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