BLOODBATH "Grand Morbid Paradise"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Since their gory birth in 1998, Bloodbath has been at the forefront of bringing true Swedish death metal back to prominence. But it has hardly been a smooth journey. The band has chewed its way through more members than a platoon of Walkers at a China Buffet. Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt and Hypocrisy's Peter Tagtgren have offered their brutal growls of death but couldn't stay the course. So it was with some surprise that Bloodbath announced its newest vocalist was cultured Englishman Nick Holmes, who's made his home with Gothic metal superstars Paradise Lost the last couple of decades.

At one time, Nick was known for having the most grinding monstrous vocals on the DM circuit. But as Paradise Lost mellowed out and went more melodic, so did Nick's singing. Until he was roped in to bellow blood-drenched horror for the newest Bloodbath epic, "Grand Morbid Funeral". This record proves you can take the boy out of the graveyard but you can't take the graveyard out of the boy! It's another gruesome slab of deadly Swedish goodness.

Nick took some time out from his corpse-dissecting duties to speak to Wormwood about his entry into the grand morbid world of Bloodbath...

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Nick, when the offer was made for you to join Bloodbath, was it something you really had to think about or did you accept instantly?

NICK HOLMES: I was asked during Paradise Lost’s US tour with Katatonia and Devin Townsend Project. It was around 2011 , so I had a fair while to get my head round the idea , although I didn’t formally accept till around a year ago.
WC: When you went into the Bloodbath recording sessions, did you feel like you were taking on a different personality? Did you find singing in this raw style to be something that transformed your thinking?

NH: Although I haven’t done it for some time, death metal was a huge part of my life , so it was like riding a bike really, it’s not unfamiliar territory , just something that’s been shelved for 2 decades.
WC:Were you able to reconnect with your inner beast pretty easily or was it right there just waiting to claw its way out?

NH: Ha ha, No, it’s no different to any other style of singing, it's  quite a controlled style. The more aggressive I try to be, he worse it sounds, actually.
WC: I know there are some live gigs coming up for Bloodbath in 2015. Will you be trying any older songs from before your time in the band?

NH: Yes,  definitely, I don’t think the audience would be too happy if Bloodbath didn’t play “Eaten.”
WC: The old school death metal sound has had a huge revival in the last few years. Is that a style you’ve kept up or is something you kind of insulate yourself from?

NH: I tap into it now and then. So many bands do it , but great bands don’t appear too often and it's nice when they do. My main love will always be the original stuff though. It made the blueprint.
WC: What’s the partnership with the other guys in the band like? Have you got a pretty strong say in the creative process on “Grand Morbid Funeral”?

NH: I’m good friends with the guys, we are all experienced in bands and touring etc, ironically, I think sharing a sense of humor is just about the most important thing. I will chip in my thoughts, but I would never force my opinion, it’s not my place to do that.
WC: How about the lyrics on the new album? They seem to be the most anti-religious or blasphemous ever. Was that the tone you were going for?

NH: Just classic death metal lyrics. If you bought tomato soup and there was carrot and coriander in the tin, you would be annoyed,  wouldn’t you!?
WC: The title track has a very gloomy, epic sound to it. Of all the tracks on the new album, it seems to owe the most to early Paradise Lost or so I think. Would you agree?

NH: I’m most used to that speed of song & singing style , so I guess it will have that vibe, Musically , not so much,  though.
WC: Do you enjoy the fast ripping songs more or do you prefer the slow, more doom-laden tracks? What’s the most challenging to do?

NH: I love fast songs, but I’m probably better at singing slow songs!  Oh,  the dilemma!
WC: “Anne” is definitely a slower, creepier song with an atypical title. I’m guessing this is probably one of the more morbid and gruesome songs, correct?

NH: Yes , it’s about a serial killer and pretty graphic in its description.
WC: What exactly is the “Church of Vastitas” about?

NH: It’s a sanctuary for the survivors of the imminent collapse of Planet Earth, a place of worship for emptiness rather than light and hope.

WC: Bloodbath has kind of operated in fits and starts over the years. Do you feel you can now produce on a consistent basis?

NH: Who knows? If we are all enjoying it and it fits well alongside other projects then why not?
WC: You’re scheduled to play the Maryland Deathfest in 2015. Will that be the only appearance of Bloodbath in the States?

NH: So  far, yes.

WC:  Are there any artists that you’d really like to collaborate with?

NH: Not really.
WC: Any plans for the next Paradise Lost and what direction might that go in?

NH: It’s a very old school feeling album, but with modern song writing,  hopefully. Pretty different in production from our last few albums for sure.
WC: If you could ask any 3 people from history to dinner, who would they be?

NH: Vlad The Impaler, Matthew Hopkins-Witchfinder , and Mother Theresa
WC: What was the last CD or release you picked up just because you wanted to get it?

NH: The last Dead can Dance album
WC:  In the history of Bloodbath, Paradise Lost or any project you’ve been involved with, has there been a “Spinal Tap” moment where things went haywire that you could share with us?

NH: There are more Spinal Tap moments than normal ones. Falling off stages, getting on wrong ferries, accidentally drinking piss instead beer, falling into bushes, playing to 4 people  etc.. It’s all happened.
WC: Any last words for the morbid congregation out there?

NH: Stay Morbid.