"The Lupine Anathema"

By El Chief

Get past the ridiculous concept and the fourth album from The Grotesquery is pretty strong. It is a titanic challenge, though, to surmount the absurd setup at the center of "The Lupine Anathema." Yup, this disc is really all about werewolves. I suppose it's good that The Grotesquery aren't trotting out another ode to serial killers, but, seriously, werewolves? Okay, saddle up your Rowdy Roddy Piper backpacks and don't forget those juice boxes, it's back to junior high we go for this one…(I hope you never see my dungeon…Godzilla and Frankenstein posters everywhere…MonsterMaven Mality)

Just like a person bitten by the wrong wolf, The Grotesquery are up to new tricks.The grind-flavored tinge of the previous three albums is gone. A few bridge sections in "Under the Curse of the Moon" pulse with folk metal before returning safely back to the haven of old school death metal. What's left after the opener is a purist's delight.

Also gone: The indulgence of spoken/atmospheric clips leading into the track proper. That's a most welcome sign of progress. Those effects should have been left behind at the turn of the century, but The Grotesquery kept using them to set up every single song over their previous records. Look, you're listening to an extreme metal album, of course it's going to be brutal, or sinister, or whatever your favorite overused cliché is. There's no point in hearing a band stop the momentum of an album, and especially one that tells a self-contained story, to play a cringe-inducing set-up clip. To belabor the point, if you're not At the Gates recording "Slaughter of the Soul," just play the fucking song and be on with it.