A Gruesome Find - Minions Engage
Crash Music
Black Metal
10 songs (55'04")
Release year: 2005
Crash Music
Reviewed by Alex

I really wanted to like this band seeing how they hail from Toledo, Ohio, my home state, and how they get some playing time on my alma mater’s radio show WBGU Metal Storm. The truth must be told, however, and A Gruesome Find have some ways to go before they break into the top notch tier of black metal bands.

The band set out to play some raw grimy black metal of early Norwegian vintage with some death metal riffage thrown in for good measure and pretty much got that accomplished with 10 songs, enough for the full-length album. Given this metal path has been walked so many times before, something must be done to distinguish yourself from the crowd – either some memorable songs or unbelievable musicianship has to be served up. Too bad then that the songs on Minions Engage roll on, one after another, failing to register in the memorability department and the musicianship is far from being tight.

The secret comes undone in the title track opener. After a war-like double bass intro the blasting sung over section comes along and it is clear that the rhythm section, especially Deathcrush on the drums, can’t keep up. And when you are a little jumbled, the soaring Darkthrone tremolo melodies just lack their dark luster. Anywhere and everywhere on the album A Gruesome Find tries to speed things up going more brutal, their jackhammer machine is stuck in “not quite fast enough” position (Pawns of the Deceiver, Wrath). Rewriting Darkthrone and Marduk is getting to be very tough when you lack all the tools.

A Gruesome Find is much better off with double bass driven sections (Tree of Despair), especially when they are overlaid with interesting tremolo melodies (of which there are quite a few on the album), or when they just let it jam mid-pace, pulling off barbaric dance riffs Damned in Black era Immortal is so good at (Conquerors of the Darkland). Naberius vocals range from Abbath’s croaking to lower death growl, but just about every vocalized section lacks inventiveness. Where things sparkle with A Gruesome Find is their guitar player Lord Mininger who is refusing to settle for the ordinary. Adding both mid-Eastern (The Nightmare Within) and Norse (Blood Red Moon) flavor to his melodies, there is something almost neoclassical lurking with his guitar playing, as solos in Curse of Shedim and Pawns of the Deceiver don’t just happen to those who never took guitar lessons. There are both shades of Death and less flashy Malmsteen, as unlikely as it sounds, but it must be pretty painful trying to pull off Morbid Angel rhythmic twists on Shroud of Darkness without your rhythm section support.

More practice time would definitely benefit this gruesome foursome. They will succeed even more if they let more originality happen to their songwriting. In that regard, allow me one comment on the closer Triumph. Strong main riff melody carries the song and the bet is almost safe that no one out there will ever recognize where it came from. Yet when you copy, almost as a carbon copy double, you have to give credit. Nowhere in the booklet have I seen that Soviet composer of the WWII days Matthew (Matvei) Blunter is recognized for his “contributions” to Triumph. And it is safe to say if Mr. Blunter didn’t write his Katyusha song, so famous in the USSR during WWII and many years after, there would be no Triumph. As a young up-and-coming band it is good to avoid plagiarism to garner more respect. And I am sure it will come if A Gruesome Find stays with it. Best of luck in the future, Ohioans!

Killing Songs :
Curse of Shedim, Tree of Despair, Triumph
Alex quoted 61 / 100
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