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4.25 out of 5 skulls
October 20, 2015 | ,

Bloodbath Grand Morbid Funeral

When it was first announced that Paradise Lost frontman Nick Holmes would take over vocals for Bloodbath there was much grumbling across the interholes — perhaps even some soft weeping and panty bunching. Filling the shoes of both Dan Swanö and Mikael Akerfeldt, who have provided guttural utterances for the band in the past, is certainly no easy task. The opening seconds of Grand Morbid Funeral are all you need to sooth any concerns over Holmes’ abilities. The dude delivers.

“Let the Stillborn Come to Me” opens with a fury as Holmes unleashes a hellish scream accompanied by pile driving drums and old school, Clandestine-era riffage. The lead track is killer and the addition of the Paradise Lost frontman feels completely natural and suitable for the death metal presented on the band’s first full-length in six years. Guttural and vicious, the vocal delivery is equally matched by driving rhythms and seething guitars. If one thing has changed through the years it’s that Bloodbath have been slowly moving away from the chunky, burly sound of old and have become a bit more dynamic and varied in their progression.

In the mood for a good face ripping? Then check out “Total Death Exhumed” at as loud a volume as you can handle — the track is a blistering behemoth of pummeling drums and driving riffage, all with an underlying, sickening groove worming in and out of rotting flesh and bone. “Anne” quickly follows suit with a sound that is more chunky with massive riffage while “Church of Vastitas” slows things down a bit with a dark atmosphere and churning, smoldering riffs.

“Mental Abortion” has plenty of give and take with regard to bludgeoning blasts and doomier slow-downs. Sick lead work punctuates the song just after the two-minute mark before the band slowly ramps up the carnage. The scream and rabid drum work at the beginning of “Beyond Cremation” combine for one of those classic moments on the album that you’ll remember long after it’s done spinning. “Unite In Pain” is a ripper while “My Torturer” continues the viciousness with searing guitar work and manic rhythms.

The title track wraps up one hell of an album with some of the more dynamic material on the release. The guest appearance by Autopsy’s Chris Reifert certainly doesn’t hurt the unhinged nature of the final song. As a whole Grand Morbid Funeral is going to stand right up there with some of the group’s best material to date. There are some truly classic Bloodbath moments throughout.

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