"Grand Morbid Funeral"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Bloodbath refuses to die! The death metal diehards have bounced back after losing vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt, who decided to investigate sunnier, proggier realms with Opeth instead of belching forth growls of death for Bloodbath.Stepping into his spot is none other than Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost, who at one time was one of the supreme death metal vocalists but for a long time has favored a more melodic sound. In many ways, he was reversed the path that Akerfeldt took and returned to the tombs with Bloodbath.

Expect no crooning from Mr. Holmes here. With Bloodbath he unleashes hateful and grim growls with no mercy. He still doesn't sound as guttural as he did on the magnificent Paradise Lost albums "Gothic" and "Lost Paradise" but he sure doesn't spare the bile. As for "Grand Morbid Funeral", the first two songs "Let The Stillborn Come To Me" and "Total Death Exhumed" are definitely violent and fast, but not really different from many other Swedish "retro-death" acts. The worship of early Entombed and Dismember is obvious, but it isn't until the innocuously titled "Anne" that the real power of Bloodbath emerges. They've always excelled with the slower, more morbid tunes and if this song was any more morbid, it would smell like formaldehyde.

Song quality is variable, but on the whole, killers like "Church of Vastitas", "Mental Abortion" and the extremely gloomy title track with its touches of Gregorian chanting prevail. The chainsaw guitar sound is authentic and biting. I tend to like Vallenfyre's "Scars" a bit more than this, but "Grand Morbid Funeral" will disappoint no fan of Bloodbath and grisly Swedish death.