Grand Cadaver
Into the Maw of Death

Classic Buzzsaw Swedish Death Metal + legendary vocalist + group of accomplished metal musicians + some current or former dude from Katatonia = Bloodbath… right?

Right. Except… not?

I’ll tell ya, writing a supergroup review can always be an arduous task. We’re talking a collection of big names, dealing with unreasonable expectations, weighing it against all the band members’ prior work. All kinds of bullshit. But sometimes, a supergroup comes along and makes it really friggin’ easy!

This time around, we’ve got Grand Cadaver, featuring guitarists Stefan Lagergren (The Grifted, Expulsion) and Alex Stjernfeldt (Novarupta, Let Them Hang), drummer Daniel Liljekvist (Disrupted, ex-Katatonia), bassist Christian Jansson (Pagandom) and, last but not least, the legendary vocals of Dark Tranquillity’s Mikael Stanne. Now granted, we’re not going into this thing blind. The group released a 4 song EP earlier in the year showcasing their complete homage and adoration of the classic buzzsaw-led sounds of Sweden. Much like when Bloodbath burst onto the scene with Resurrection Through Carnage, GC’s Madness Comes was absolutely fantastic in its simplicity– taking a tried-and-true sound and executing it with the band’s massive collection of experience guiding the way. Nothing you had to think a whole lot about – just press play, open a beer and crash around your house like a lunatic. Sign me up!

So what has the band done after serving up that little slab of fun? They, uh, did it again. Except even better.

It’s really that simple. Take what worked really well, add a touch of refinement, and add a few more tracks time. Job done.

When it comes to a product like this, it seems a little silly to me to get too bogged down in the minutia. This is Swedish Death metal for fans of Swedish Death Metal. Frills? Throw them out the window! It’s a non-stop, buzzsaw attack on your eardrums full of nostalgia and celebration of all things Entombed, Dismember and Grave. At the end of the day, the only real question needs answering is – are the riffs sick? Yes, friends. The riffs are sick, and plentiful. From the more mid-paced attack of “Soul Infestation,”   to more upbeat ripping of “Malevolent Fate,” to the slower, plodding bruisers of “Grim Eternal” and “Cold Dead Light Leads,” the band does a nice job of changing up the pacing and delivering enough variety to avoid repetition. That said, I’ll admit, the riffs here didn’t have quite as much of the immediate impact that those from their debut EP that were filled with a little more raw energy (see “Fields of the Undying” as a prime example), but they still hit plenty hard.

And maybe that ever-so-slight dip in raw energy from the guitars can be attributed to what seems like an increased focus on Mikael Stanne’s excellent vocals. In the same way the Mikael Akerfeldt and Peter Tagtgren’s vocal talents further elevated Bloodbath’s excellent work, Stanne’s distinct vocal delivery certainly takes command and gives the band a unique flair you just won’t find in similar acts. The best example I can offer is on 4th track “Grim Eternal.” The band breaks into a section with only bass and drums behind the vocals, and he breaks out a unique pattern that feels familiar to Stanne’s work with Dark Tranquillity, but hits with an altogether different kind of impact given this straight-up death metal setting. He follows this when the guitars come back in by dropping down into a lower register than I’ve heard from him in quite some time, and it sounds downright EVIL.

Into the Maw of Death succeeds because it takes what worked really well on Madness Comes, and puts what seems like a little bit more of a collaborative effort this time around. This kind of thing isn’t necessarily rocket science, but the band has given every element its time to shine, and allowing the individual musicians to really leave their mark on the final product. If you haven’t given these guys a rip yet, you ought to get on it. They may just become your new favorite Swedish-Death-worshipping supergroup featuring a current or former member of Katatonia. I know they’ve quickly become mine!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
October 14th, 2021


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