Metal Life Album Review: BLOODBATH – Grand Morbid Funeral
With the extinguishing of the Bloodbath flame wars from earlier this year regarding Nick Holmes following the footsteps of Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth) and Peter Tagtren (Hypocrisy), I was finally able to sit back, relax, and see what this infamous supergroup could conjure this time. Even with a wait only slightly less agonizing than that for the new At The Gates album, my Grand Morbid Funeral experience was not wholly one of the most exciting albums of the year like I had hoped. Having said that, this is still an album not entirely worthy of the shit some uptight fans have been flinging at it.
First of all, I frequently talk in my reviews of first impressions being powerful; if a band’s first few songs don’t rope you in as fast as possible, what’s the point of wasting time hoping for more? That being said, I love the Asphyx-like opening of “Let the Stillborn Come to Me,” and “Total Death Exhumed” proves that Sodomizer may not be a Swanö, but he is still a mighty warrior of the death metal riff. “Anne” has profoundly bellowing riffs, but the repetition of an otherwise bold marching riff gets old pretty fast. “Mental Abortion” also rides a delicate balance of fast-paced and intentionally malicious riff-writing and the awful industrial-like echoes of the verses. The latter element makes this otherwise brilliant song seem rather juvenile. Nick Holmes definitely brings a serpentine quality to the lyrical spoutings accompanying technically sound riffs and drum hooks. It is something that either you accept to succumbing to or you don’t. “Beyond Cremation” is absolutely the highlight of this album as far as unadulterated heaviness, but Holmes’s gargling vocals just don’t produce the same nightmare-inducing effects as the abysmal organs of Tagtren.
When it comes to pressing the play button on Grand Morbid Funeral, here is my advice. Come for the controversy. Stay for the rush of either being so high on another Bloodbath release or of trying to adapt to the band’s evolving styles without boycotting one of the coolest supergroups ever.