Six years in waiting, "Grand Morbid Funeral" marks the blasphemous return of Swedish Death Metal supergroup "Bloodbath". The group formed in 1998 with various artists from such bands as "Opeth", "Diabolical Masquerade" & "Edge Of Sanity" with a rotating cast of vocalists, most noticeably Åkerfeldt of Opeth who's demonic guttural screams gave them a gripping edge. His departure from the group had left my hopes for this record a little soured and it turned out to be a defining point in my enjoyment of this record.
As a Death Metal band, Bloodbath brought the best out of the "oldskool" sound, fusing it with a violent and frenetic aggression through crisp production and inspired musicianship that set them aside from other Death Metal bands. On the surface they sound somewhat generic and typical, but their songs are abundant with violent, boldly executed ideas and riffage thats given a flair through Åkerfeldt's evil presence and the melodic leads that can infect this malevolent sound with a touch of color. On "Grand Morbid Funeral" the group delivery more of the same, fast, pummeling death with no shortage of ideas. The album as a whole felt very much like a safe continuation and progression from where "The Fathomless Mastery" left off, its tight, sharp and on point. A solid execution of exactly what I and other Bloodbath fans wanted to hear.
Despite being a solid record on the points mentioned, there were two disappointments. Firstly new vocalist Nick Holmes has big boots to fill, too big. His presences is not as dominating. Despite a commanding presence, his intensity was a step behind the rest of the band. The second disappointment was more so about my failing apatite for Metal music. Although this was what I wanted, its more of the same, and despite Bloodbath being a band I hold in high regard, it essentially didn't give me the same kick it used to. I enjoyed this record, It's production is another step forward for the group and their musicianship and focus on the Bloodbath ideal was spot on, but there's only so much of this chaos I can digest before I need something different.
Favorite Song: Beyond Creation