Bloodbath – Grand Morbid Funeral (Peaceville Records)
Bloodbath bring light to the Death Metal genre with a revitalised and atmospheric new album.
What attracts me to music, above all, is the tone. The sounds must impart some feeling that stirs something inside of me. Apathy, Rejection, Joy, Love, Existential Dread. Those feelings, when conveyed through music, is what makes me like an artist.
This issue of conjured feelings creating good music is a part of the reason that Death Metal never really connected with me in the same way that other genres have. It’s very rare that a Death Metal band makes me feel anything at all. I certainly have my exceptions, Suffocation, Cynic, and Grave Miasma are favorites, but I’m quite selective.
Tthat said, Bloodbath, a Swedish old school-Death Metal supergroup comprising members of Opeth, Katatonia and Paradise Lost, have managed to put out an album, with Grand Morbid Funeral, that I actually love, an album good enough to make me reconsider Death Metal as a genre.
They haven’t done this by conjuring feelings of decay, brutality, and hatred. What they’ve done is make me feel fun.
The sense of fun on the album is simply palpable. I could tell that the members of the band had a good time writing and recording this record, and I think some of that must be due to the addition of vocalist Nick Holmes, who also fronts Paradise Lost. He revitalises the band, adds a rough, youthful urge that, in my opinion, Mikael Akerfeldt could never bring. He puts the band more in line with Possessed than Devourment, if you know what I mean.
The first few songs are absolute bangers, Total Death Exhumed in particular. It’s classic Death n’ Roll with a fun, cheesy, horror movie atmosphere. The songwriting is stellar. The track wheels between sludgy, doomy death metal and classic rock riffing, like Nazareth if they were from Brownsville.
The subsequent track, Anne, is just as varied, taking elements from D-Beat. The solo is a highlight, sporting a clean tone and deft fretwork. The lyrics are particularly depraved, with references to “My manhood fed to her severed head.” Yuck.
Bloodbath finishes out the album with a title track which is the best song they’ve ever released. They break away from the old school-Death Metal template to play some mid-paced atmospheric, Black-Metal inflected melodeath. Then an honest-to-goodness choir kicks in, adding some breathing space to an album that is otherwise totally heavy. It’s a short gasp of levity, though, because then the track descends into hyberblast, deathgrind territory. It’s a truly thrilling moment.
This is a great record, and it certainly deserves a bit more exposure. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys heavy music, especially if they don’t want the self-serious scene-pandering that often comes with it.
All words by Joshua Hart. More writing by Joshua on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.