At this point BLOODBATH needs no introduction. And now, after a six year hiatus the Swedish Death Metal masters return with Grand Morbid Funeral, out today via Peaceville Records. There has been a lot, and I mean A LOT of talk about this record, both good and bad in the days and weeks leading up to its release. There has also been a seemingly endless cavalcade of detractors since it was revealed that Nick Holmes (PARADISE LOST) would be stepping up to the mic. Me, I have no issues with it because I’m not a rabid die-hard BLOODBATH guy. With that said, this is definitely an impressive release. Mini-Amps sure wore himself out rockin’ to it the other night.
Opener “Let the Stillborn Come to Me” is as heavy and bludgeoning a first track as you’re gonna get and if you’re anything like me you’ll play this one about six times before moving on. Then when you hear “Total Death Exhumed” you’ll probably be stuck on that one for a while, too. Verrrry nice way to start this record, guys. “Mental Abortion” is a scrappy number that has some serious attitude, and “Famine of God’s Word” has some of the filthiest riffs this side of the Atlantic. “Anne” is one of those tracks that make you wonder where it’s headed, but the creepy journey is half the fun, believe me.
The sinister intro to “Church of Vastitas” makes this one of the more interesting songs on the album and the body of it is firmly entrenched in doom territory if that makes any sense. Either way it’s as cold and dark as winters in Europe and it stands out from some of the pack. On the other side of that coin, “Unite in Hell” didn’t really do anything for me and “His Infernal Necropsy” just felt like the same thing over and over. “My Torturer” on the other hand comes out all guns blazing looking for a fight. “Beyond Creation” is another one that I enjoyed from the get-go, Holmes’ bloodcurdling scream opening fire on your ears. It sure caught me off-guard; you guys now know to expect it.
The title track is the album closer. Moody, gloomy, with a doom tempo it slithers forth, Holmes’ low growls accompanied by some chanting in the background. The band is tight and the guitars come down like a ten ton hammer, a perfect way to end things. All in all I think BLOODBATH did just fine in getting Nick on vocals. His delivery is evil and one can only hope it’s not another six years between albums. Grand Morbid Funeral may not be on anyone’s death metal album of the year releases, but it’s a solid record that people really need to give a chance. Other than those two songs I mentioned, the disc has been spinning like crazy here at A&GS HQ.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Grand Morbid Funeral”, “Let the Stillborn Come to Me”, “Total Death Exhumed”, “Church of Vastitas”, “Famine of God’s Word”