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Grand Supreme Blood Court – Bow Down to the Blood Court

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You know, it would be easy to say: hey, another death metalband with Martin van Drunen on vocals. But we already have Asphyx, and Hail of Bullets. Why do we need another one? Why not stick with those two? It’s all true, you know. More Martin van Drunen. But if one judges this band by that standard alone, one passes by one key factor, that in all honesty, does not even gives you a chance to let it pass: the proud return to doom/death metal of Grand Judge Eric Daniels. The man that gave the world Last One on Earth. And the man who – for me – has the starring role on this album, in an all-star line up. As usual, van Drunen shows us the back of his throat. A little lower than in the old days, but the characteristic maniacal growls are ever present. Bob Bagchus takes a firm stand, slightly in the background, but solid like concrete in the base of the music. Never was the fanciest of drummers, so he plays out his best cards – solidity and tightness – in a thundering rhythmic duet with HoB-fourstringer Theo van Eekelen. Alwin Zuur, who we know as bassist in Asphyx, is the brother in arms for Eric Daniels, acting as a solid counterpart and laying out a solid foundation for Daniels’ trade mark: the mesmerizing, melancholic guitar lines. Just as soon as the ominous bells of the intro flow into the ultraheavy guitars, it immediately sounds familiar, well-known. It’s like the follow up to “Last one on Earth”, delivered to us by the very same people, with reinforcements. Because despite the individual talents, this album is at first and foremost a team effort. Grand Supreme Blood Court is a well oiled machine, tight, destructive, merciless. Without remorse, grenade after grenade is fired at the innocent listener. Relentless rolling death metal are combined with effective doom passages, in both heavy palm muted poundings as well as open chords that build a wall of sound.The songs vary from slightly more straightforward, to a few in depth songs that venture into more epic territories, such as “Veredictum Sanguis” (excellent song!), “Circus Of Mass Torment”, which has an ominous ring to it due to the whirling, almost blackened riffs, that often remind me of the Soulburn-album. And last but not least the ten minute monster “…And Thus The Billions Shall Burn”, summing up all the trademarks of GSBC and featuring some amazing lead parts. Topping off the album is the production by Dan Swanö. Instead of choosing a faceless modern sound, this album has quite a unique production, that holds the balance between the old school smudgy filth and the more transparent, broad sound of today. So, all in all, yes, there are a lot of similarities with the other bands that feature Martin van Drunen, but again, this album holds too many quality to be judged by just that. Without comparing it to other bands, this album stands out for me, and is (I think) the best that Eric Daniels and his men can give the world right now. Glad he’s back. Look out for this one, besides the cool limited mediabook CD-release, it also comes on black vinyl, and the cool white vinyl (which I own) and red vinyl limited releases. (Stijn)