|Title: Ghouls of Grandeur
Label: Candlelight Records
Release Date: 9/23/03
|Judgment Committee Reviews||Rating|
||Go to Reader Reviews|
Featuring members from Immortal and Deride, Grimfist is the latest Peter Tagtgren project to emerge from Abyss studios. It is also the best in recent memory. Ghouls of Grandeur is a relentless mix of death, black and thrash that is well produced, spectacularly written, and the type of album that reminds us why metal is so fucking cool.
"Each and every track is amazing, and pointing specific ones out is pointless, but I'm always up for pointless."
I first heard this album in the mountains of New Hampshire, during a camping trip. Of course, it was summer and I realize it would have been more appropriate in the dead of winter, but the band still made an immediate impression. I got home and quickly realized I already had a copy in my 'metal yet to listen to' pile (so much metal, so little time) and dove into the record head first. I've yet to get bored of it. The music has a definite old-school vibe to it. The guitars sound much dirtier than you would expect in an Abyss production job, and the tempo moves from blastbeat to mid-paced groove almost effortlessly.
The vocals are almost all harshly screamed, but on rare occasion burst out with bellowed cleaned vocals that bring the traditional elements screaming to the forefront. In short, the music utilizes its different personalities at all times, but announces them separately periodically, presenting a superb sense of arrangement. Each and every track is amazing, and pointing specific ones out is pointless, but I'm always up for pointless. "Primal Aggression" is the opening track and sets a pace that never relents. "From Hell & Back", "Lesser of Two Evils", and "Mosh-Pit Underground" are others that would be stand outs on any other album, but just maintain the spooky consistency heard throughout this record.
"While the members are well seasoned, it's still impressive that this album is a debut, because everything about it oozes chemistry and talent."
This album is one of the best of the year, and one that belongs in the collection of every discerning metalhead. While the members are well seasoned, it's still impressive that this album is a debut, because everything about it oozes chemistry and talent. I wait with baited breath their next release. One word review: Blistering.
I'm psyched that the band turned out to be as cool as the album name! Ghouls of Grandeur sounds original and cool, even if the band name leaves a little something to be desired. Muscially, we're talking groovy yet extreme vocally with some faster parts, well-produced death metal. We've even got eighties metal backing vocals thrown in on track three, "A World of Wrath." For good measure. This is definitely a different kind of band. Not too different so as to stray too far beyond the boundaries of metal, but different enough to sound fresh to these fatigued ears. This is rock-inspired death metal, perhaps conceptually along the lines of what Six Feet Under was originally trying to do even though Grimfist and Six Feet Under ultimately sound nothing alike. Think heavy, down-tuned riffs, a mixture of something very modern and the guitars you hear in the early nineties Stockholm sound (even though Grimfist are from Norway).
"Think heavy, down-tuned riffs, a mixture of something very modern and the guitars you hear in the early nineties Stockholm sound."
"Here's hoping you all can get behind this record and create enough of a buzz so that we might see the band touring the U.S. before this album cycle is through."
Produced by Peter Tagtgren of Hypocrisy fame, this is definitely one of his finer efforts. Frankly, this is one of the best death metal productions I've ever heard. The crisp, buzzsaw guitars with rock soloing on "From Hell & Back" mix well with the all-out thrash-metal attack apparent throughout the rest of the record. The descending guitar trills on "No Compromise" remind me of Slayer's "Angel of Death". The bass guitar volume and mix actually reminds me of Overkill's Under the Influence. Believe me, this is a compliment. Frediabolo's vocals ensure this remains totally within the province of extreme death metal, despite the thrasy comparisons. If you are looking for something new in the world of death, and if you like well-produced fresh sounding takes on the downtuned, brutal variety, then this may very well bear your album of the year. It definitely crushes. Here's hoping you all can get behind this record and create enough of a buzz so that we might see the band touring the U.S. before this album cycle is through. Get on board early, and join the "Mosh Pit Underground" today. Trust me. If you get this album soon, you'll be able to play it for all your buddies before they've even heard of the band. Isn't that one of the purest joys of being obsessed with heavy metal? Either that or slamming your head against the wall shouting "Ghoooooooouls!!!! Of graaaaan-deuuuur!!!!!!"
I don't normally make comparisons between bands. Death does it constantly, so anything I think of I know he'll hit upon, and therefore I see it as unnecessary. Additionally, I have a philosophical stance on this as well - I firmly believe bands should be judged on their own merits and that comparing them to other bands amounts to mere blandishment at best, and is utterly unfair to the band in question in any case.
"A Lamb of God comparison may hold true for moments here and there, but in the grand analysis, that theory holds very little water."
But I've been listening to a lot of Lamb of God lately, well, actually I've been listening to a Burn the Priest CD I picked up recently - a lot. So when the first track off Ghouls of Grandeur, "Primal Aggression," started blasting through my speakers, I really couldn't quite stop the comparison from leaping to mind. I certainly mean it in the best possible way, as I have been shouting my fondness for Lamb of God from my internet rooftop forever now it seems. But, again, such a comparison is unfair, as "A World of Wraith" takes this notion and smashes it to tiny little bits, with large sections of this song deviating greatly from all that had come before.
"Each time I listen to this record, I like it even more. Ghouls of Grandeur is a truly impressive debut."
So while my Lamb of God comparison may hold true for moments here and there, in the grand analysis, that theory holds very little water. It remains useful for the purpose of giving you a small notion of what Grimfist has to offer and the level of quality inherent in the association. But simply shoving them into this mold dismisses the many other stylistic aspects of the record. And we certainly must not miss the elements of black, thrash, and death that wind their way throughout the songwriting.
Grimfist features musicianship that is clearly on par with the best heavy metal has to offer. The songwriting is excellent - entertaining and diverse. Favored metal themes adorn the lyrical content. The production is nice and clear, just as it should be, in my opinion. I dare say there is something on this record for every metal fan. Do you like classic metal guitar solos? Slow, heavy, headbanging sections? Blistering fast parts? Heck, that's just the song "Obsession"! Each time I listen to this record, I like it even more. Ghouls of Grandeur is a truly impressive debut.
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