Russian metallers Grenouer have been regularly featured and devoured on our podcast The Bone Orchard at www.audioburger.com over the past couple of years so the news and chance to review their new album offered a rapacious hunger to the excitement. The band has left a striking presence with their evolving sound across the years and Blood On The Face continues that accomplished course with ease whilst opening up further suggestions of distinct explorations ahead. The sound is familiar to their fans, their melodic potency and sonic sculpting at its pinnacle, but equally it is a continuation of their now established intent and tempting with an invention and imagination which blends varied flavours and adventure for a deeply impressive encounter.
Released through Mausoleum Records, Blood On The Face combines the five tracks which made up previous acclaimed EP Computer Crimes with six new songs and a cover. Initial thoughts were that filling almost half the release with a previous one will disappoint fans but such the strength of those tracks with their new ‘revisited’ arrangements and more so the new compositions, it will be surely merely a passing niggle for most and for newcomers makes the perfect introduction. Produced by the team of Dualized & Eddy Cavazza (Mnemic), Anssi Kippo (Children Of Bodom), and Joonas Koto, the album is an absorbing and enthralling landscape of distinctive melodic metal. At times thoughts of other bands as inspirations make suggestions but Grenouer have a sound which is theirs alone and Blood On The Face a thrilling vehicle to share it through. Formed in 1992 by vocalist Andrey Ind and guitarist Alexander Motor, the Saint Petersburg based quintet have moved far on from their extreme metal origins, the years and releases since then drawing in and embracing a rich and passionate melodic heart to the precisely and inventively crafted songs. This their seventh album, has the opportunity to make a full declaration to the world of their might thanks to the new link up with Mausoleum, and one suspects their rewards will be just as plentiful.
A brooding intro opens up the release, Thunder Phase a dawning of a warm and provocative ambience filled with drifting vocal calls, before merging into the waiting title track. Thick riffs and sonic flames immediately erupt around the ear whilst the rhythms of drummer Michael Coroner cage it all with punch and strength. The ever impressive vocals of Ind unveil their distinct and impressive flames, his unique melodic and at times soaring range just as pleasingly supported by the backing tones of Motor and fellow guitarist Igor Buzzy. It is an intriguing and riveting blend which envelopes senses and thoughts whilst the throaty bass of Dmitry Daemon persistently adds the shadows and menacing depths which lurk and prowl the hot climate crafted elsewhere. The track is a restrained yet imposing start which opens up the album perfectly if without, in hindsight, reaching the subsequent plateaus breached later.
Both Sands of Silence and Midday Show induce greater involvement from the passions, the first with its plaintive yet seductive breath and vocals wrapped in fiery arms of melodic adventure and atmospheric emotion and the second of the two through vigorous and snarling riffs from bass and guitar which stalk and incite the ear around the again intense and emotive call of the song. It is like its predecessor a masterful expanse of imagination and enterprise with only the rapping insert later on into its persuasion taking a while to convince, the excellent song emerging as a mix of Absolace and Clawfinger.
The impressive quality and enjoyment continues and grows with each temptation masked as songs, the compelling Golden Years and the explosive Rejected igniting further lustful obedience before their creative and adventurous lures, whilst Fix Your Life/A Few Miles from Paradise finds a mix of the familiar and new which is honed into a fascination that is lingering and provocative, the keys exploring deeper invention and textured ambiences.
The most thrilling highlights in nothing but, come with firstly the predatory Brain Fever, one of those truly dangerous hunters which deceitfully lay out a welcome of melodic beauty and seduction before gnawing on senses and thoughts with corrosive riffs and crisp splintering rhythms. It is an outstanding song instantly matched by See No Sun and Last Stop. The first of the pair is a smouldering caress of a song, hazy atmospheres veined by a melodic beauty and sculpting which sways and kisses with every second of its sirenesque grandeur though it holds a carnivorous surprise too whilst the second is a reserved but forceful riot of rippling sinews and ferocious enterprise, simply an irresistible contagion.
Completed by a cover of the Stone Temple Pilots song All in the Suit That You Wear, this should be the album to bring Grenouer the recognition long deserved. Blood On The Face is an outstanding album full of refreshing invention, time for the world to wake up to the band.
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