Bloodbath had come a long way since the initial drunken idea between lifelong friends from Katatonia, Opeth and Edge of Sanity to re-enter the old school death metal genre in the The Sanctuary studio under the mixing and recording board of Dan Swano; something that in their more progressive or better said mellow main bands this kind of music is very much a thing of a forgotten past.
This love letter to the death metal genre is supposed to be short-lived and by the words of the first vocalist and original member Mikael from Opeth is just fun. This includes him vomiting in the vocal booth during the recording of their first album Resurrection through Carnage. Soon Mikael vomited his way of the band to focus on his main band Opeth and Peter Tagtgren from the mighty Hypocrisy jump in to record their at the time last album Nightmares Made Flesh and Mikael jumped back in the band to perform the bloody awesome show at Wacken 2005.
This sting was supposed to be their swansong and end of their little death metal party.
But Bloodbath, like any good horror villain refused to stay in the grave.
Three years later the super-group formed again notably without Dan Swano who as well considered Bloodbath nothing more than a “one night-stand”. But Mikael was back in the last minute and recorded the killer EP “Unblessing the Purity” and “The Fathomless Mastery” of the same quality before jumped ship again while citing Danny Glover from Lethal Weapon: “I’m too old for this shit.”
By watching their superb DVD Bloodbath over Bloodstock you can definitely agree with the guy. The bands performance in the DVD is great expect for Mikael’s death metal voice which was pretty much filing the papers for retirement at that time. To everyone’s surprise his replacement is another guy who can pass for the “I’m too old for this shit line” and gave up this style of vocals: Nick Holmes from Paradise Lost.
Although Grand Morbid Funeral (the first full length with Nick) still retains some remnants of their more technical albums, this is a pure throwaway to the first two records Breeding death and Resurrection through Carnage. So if you are fan of those records you are gonna have a morbid blast with this one.
I would have had a blast as well, but my biggest gripe with the album is the same as it was with the last album: Old Nick. And this comes from a big fan of Paradise Lost, a big bloody fan. Yes, Nick had great death metal growls; some fucking 20 years ago. Now it more sounds like a raspy voice from a guy suffering from throat cancer on his 56th date on world tour.
It’s pretty clear the band embraced that kind of style of his voice. Aiming for that old school death vocals during the first Possessed and Entombed albums where the growl were not yet fully developed and went down under, but after hearing the guest vocals from legendary guys like Jeff Walker (Carcass), Karl Willetts (Bolt Thrower) and John Walker (Cancer) on the second track Bloodicide you can just imagine how much their vocals would fare better then Nicks.
On the production side; this must of on the crunchiest guitar sound I have ever heard, I almost got diabetes after the third listening and the solo guitar sound; Jesus Christ on mortuus acid, it’s so fucking dark and beautiful that is shame that is not used more often in the album.
The producer Karl Daniel Liden did a phenomenal job.
In every note it is shown that the band loves this genre and its style, it understands it and treats it almost like cultural science. Still retaining their Bloodbath sounds with is slow beats and breakdowns but getting knee deep in the roots of death metal.
When I said roots of death metal, I mean simplified. Like I said, to the fans of their first releases this is a love letter, for the rest of us is somewhat of a hate mail. Listening through these ten songs which are in duration of 4 minutes with a few eyebrow raising moments my main thought after a song was: “Wow, that’s it?”
There are killer tracks like “Fleischmann”, “Morbid Antichrist” or “Only The Dead Survive” but some songs just oozes of lazy, predictable writing and knowing the talent behind the Bloodbath name; this album could have been so much better.