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'Grand Morbid Funeral'
(Peaceville Records)

jools green

Jools Green


Swedish horror obsessed death Metal outfit Bloodbath have returned with a new album, 'Grand Morbid Funeral', their fourth full length, with new vocalist, Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost replacing Opeth's Mikael Åkerfeldt.

The addition of a new vocalist does add a fresh slant on this latest offering and Nick Holmes certainly makes a good job of the vocal duties; his growl is sinister and deep yet audible.

There are two main issues Bloodbath will always have to face. The first is a high level of expectation that is always placed upon them, given they are viewed as somewhat of a supergroup in so much that they have historically featured members of Katatonia, Opeth and now Paradise Lost.

The second is that any album they release will subsequently be forever compared to 2008s 'The Fathomless Mastery' and I am as guilty as the rest of the Metal world of this comparison but it was such a devastatingly superb album and in some ways makes them victims of their own success.

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The better question is how does 'Grand Morbid Funeral' perform in its own right and the answer is that it's not an end to end gripping listen but there are a fair few tracks that make a very good listen, certainly in the latter part of the release.

It maintains that old school Swedish death Metal feel, it's as dark, dirty and rotten as you would expect it to be, but it is also a safe offering with no real boundaries being pushed. The balance between dark melody, to keep it listenable and savage riffing to give it enough brutality is good and it also features guest appearances from Chris Reifert and Eric Cutler (Autopsy) as well as other guest artists.

Of the eleven tracks featured on 'Grand Morbid Funeral', the ones which captured my interest after a couple of listens were 'Church Of Vastitas', which has a superbly doom rich opening and continues in a bleak plodding and dark manner with gut wrenching vocals and beautifully phrased drum work.


The fast tempo 'Mental Abortion' is a great example of Swedish style death metal with a memorable dirty groove and some superb guitar work after the mid way drop away. I love the opening vocal growl on 'His Infernal Necropsy', it's a track that is dirty, catchy and has good direction change keeping it interesting and it's also not too long at just under four minutes.

'Unite In Pain' opens on superb thrashy guitar work, immediately capturing your interest and it also has a memorable repeat, a good up tempo pace and the ground shaking depth the vocals plunge to is impressive.

'My Torturer' is a fast and exciting listen to open with a some noteworthy guitar work, just after a midway tempo drop that lasts for the greater part of the second half of the track and finally title track, 'Grand Morbid Funeral', which sounds just as its name suggests, is morbidly slow, sinister, hugely atmospheric and varied. It does elevate to an insane fervour on closing making it a great album ender that encourages you to have another listen to the tracks that didn't sit quit as well with you at the beginning of the album.

'Grand Morbid Funeral' was recorded once again at Ghost Ward Studios and the City of Glass Studios in Stockholm and mixed by David Castillo and although not every track had instant appeal with me I found the more I listened the more I got into it and hopefully it will continue to grow with continued listens. I am not prepared to give up on it yet, it has too many good points and is unfortunately haunted by the ghost of a past huge success.

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