Grand Cadaver - Deities of Deathlike Sleep
Majestic Mountain Records
Death Metal
10 songs (34:38)
Release year: 2023
Majestic Mountain Records
Reviewed by Goat

As easy to it is to enjoy the dark and tranquil melodicism peddled by Swedish legends Dark Tranquillity, few would deny of late that a little more darkness and a little less tranquillity would make for even better music. Enter Grand Cadaver, a project featuring Mikael Stanne on vocals, that seeks to answer the question of whether darker is indeed better, started during the pandemic plague years and here presenting their second album of throwback death metal. Few will probably prefer this to the main job of Stanne (and bassist Christian Jansson) but Grand Cadaver does its job of producing enjoyable death metal very well indeed. With a line-up rounded out with ex-Katatonian drummer Daniel Liljekvist and guitarists Stefan Lagergren (ex-Tiamat amongst others) and Alex Stjernfeldt (Let Them Hang) this is a competent and experienced set of musicians.

Musically, it's very in the spiritual tradition of Swedish death, downtuned guitars and HM-2 all the way, striking quite a distance from Dark Tranquillity as of late. It's even hard to recognise Stanne at points, putting a nastier tone in his snarls to the point where this all sounds closer to recent Bloodbath than anything. Pervading the music throughout is a rumbling intensity and darkness that makes the music work as intended, not to mention a frequent focus on d-beats in the drumming that give it a punky directness. The Wishful Dead is one of several pieces that includes slower and doomier sections for variety, speeding up well as counterpoints, whilst Serrated Jaws is the closest thing here to Darker Tranquillity, having a sense of melody in what works as the chorus akin to the better-known band's halcyon days before getting down and crunchy. A Crawling Feast of Decay is close behind, recognisably similar to Dark Tranquillity without being at all the same.

Yet there's more than enough here to mark Grand Cadaver out as their own beast. The viciousness of the title track is as effective as the infectious rhythm of Vortex of Blood, and although there's nothing really that original to be found here, the band keep producing killer cuts even deep into the tracklisting with the likes of the crawling True Necrogeny or Stabbed With Frozen Blood, straying into death 'n' roll territory but never quite committing fully. One of the most heartwarming things in metal is the playing of this music simply for the love of it, and the fondness that Grand Cadaver have for classic Swedish death comes through strongly on this album - not a must-buy or especially standing out from the hordes of similar bands, but certainly proof that there's life in death yet, and enjoyable for what it is.

Killing Songs :
A Crawling Feast of Decay, Serrated Jaws, Vortex of Blood, True Necrogeny
Goat quoted 70 / 100
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