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Grand Supreme Blood Court - "Bow Down Before The Blood Court" (CD)

Grand Supreme Blood Court - "Bow Down Before The Blood Court" CD cover image

"Bow Down Before The Blood Court" track listing:

1. All Rise! (4:25)
2. Bow Down Before The Blood Court (3:46)
3. There Shall Be No Acquittance (3:31)
4. Veredictum Sanguis (5:05)
5. Behead the Defence (3:06)
6. Grand Justice, Grand Pain (2:14)
7. Fed To The Boars (4:19)
8. Circus Of Mass Torment (5:08)
9. Public Castration (3:06)
10. Piled Up For The Scavengers (4:21)
11. ... And Thus The Billions Shall Burn (9:54)

Reviewed by on November 19, 2012

"The members of Asphyx have done little wrong over the past few years, and their involvement with Grand Supreme Blood Court gives this album the credentials it needs to be a grizzly competitor in death/doom metal."

Three-fifths of Asphyx, including vocalist Martin van Drunen, has come together for Grand Supreme Blood Court, a side-project that extends off of Asphyx and Hail of Bullets. While Asphyx latest album, “Deathhammer,” caused a stir, “Bow Down Before The Blood Court” won’t get the same response. Being released near the end of 2012, and in the same year as the excellent “Deathhammer,” means this album won’t have the momentum of a traditional Asphyx release. “Bow Down Before The Blood Court” is not something that will invigorate death metal fans, but Grand Supreme Blood Court’s debut album more than holds its own.

If you have ever heard an album from Asphyx or Hail of Bullets, “Bow Down Before The Blood Court” should be recognizable before the disc (or the digital download) is played. Death/doom metal collides with van Drunen’s trademark growls, which have been a part of some of the best death metal albums ever released. This record doesn’t quite reach that level, as the band tends to play it straight with their music. The handful of attempts to be different, like the bass-led instrumental “Grand Justice, Grand Pain,” and ten-minute “...And Thus The Billions Shall Burn,” are limited in their appeal.

“All Rise!” is the vicious beginning that any good death/doom album should contain, its mid-tempo style a platform for a short stack of meaty riffs. “Heavy as hell” is an overdone expression, but apt for this tune. Most of the other songs follow the same path, bouncing between restricted downtime and gleeful sonic slaughtering. Usually, it’s the former that is the reigning champion, though “Behead The Defence” moves itself right to the latter and never gives the other side a chance to butt in.

“Veredictum Sanguis” and “Circus Of Mass Torment” are a couple of deeper cuts, playing around with the doom aspect of the band’s sound. That is a mainstay of the previously-mentioned “...And Thus The Billions Shall Burn,” a long take that has nowhere to go anytime soon. It takes almost five minutes just for the band to pick up the tempo, and it doesn’t last very long. A soaring guitar lead is a pleasant surprise, as the guitars are honed in to the riffs for most of the album.

“Bow Down Before The Blood Court” is a workhorse of an album, one that isn’t pushing to reshape death metal, but still has many redeeming qualities. van Drunen has not lost any bit of bark from his voice, and these songs have the right amount of pull between face-crushing speed and gut-churning gloom. There’s just enough of that early ‘90s flavor to the album to give it extra appeal to the diehards, though they may find it a notch lower than “Deathhammer.” The members of Asphyx have done little wrong over the past few years, and their involvement with Grand Supreme Blood Court gives this album the credentials it needs to be a grizzly competitor.

Highs: Martin van Drunen on vocals, death/doom metal performed by veterans of the scene, killer anthems like "All Rise!"

Lows: Little to surprise death metal fans, a touch lower in quality than Asphyx's "Deathhammer"

Bottom line: Asphyx members get together for a compelling death/doom metal project that is worth exploring.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)