It has been a most eventful year in the Bloodbath camp, with a brand new album in Grand Morbid Funeral (Peaceville) and the shocking and welcome news of Nick Holmes taking the chalice left by Mikael Akerfeldt and returning to his Death Metal roots. In the first of a two part feature, Anders Nystrom chatted to Ghost Cult about the change in their ranks, and his thoughts on the new generation of listeners who may not know or understand the Bloodbath heritage…
What is apparent is Grand Morbid Funeral is less technically orientated and a much more primal and, ahem, morbid offering than its predecessor The Fathomless Mastery (Peaceville). This does point towards the influence of Nick Holmes’ addition to the fold, bearing in mind his work with doom maestro’s Paradise Lost and of course their debut and death metal classic, Lost Paradise (Peaceville).
“Just by having Nick singing on top of brutal, heavy death metal is going to make it sound naturally like the first Paradise Lost album. The elements are so similar in some ways that it’s going to be a big nostalgic ride to go back to that era.
“It’s hard to say who approached who but it originated from Katatonia and Paradise Lost being on tour together and we were sitting down just having a laugh, having a good time, sharing memories from the old days… and these kind of nights became more and more frequent, and out of that some kind of idea was formed which opened the door for Nick to go back into those years and being able to perform growls again.
“We said we have this side project and we were thinking of the new album and making it really old school and you would be a perfect fit for it.”
In hindsight judging from Grand Morbid Funeral, any notion that Holmes may not have been up to task seem ridiculous; but being away from harsh vocals for so long it surely was understandable for their to be doubts about his capabilities…
“I guess in the back of your mind there was a little bit of hesitation but we kind of killed that really early on. I actually said just like any other singer out there he should audition (laughs). We actually sent him instrumental versions of old songs which he demoed his vocals on and sent back. Based on this we knew what we had coming, this killed all the hesitation and we were all convinced that this was right on what we wanted.”
Of course there was some backlash to his arrival in place of Akerfeldt,
“I think some of the more conservative fans, they would have just preferred Mike to stay, but you can’t force someone to be a part of a band who has altogether lost his interest for death metal. When that interest decays you have to be true to yourself, otherwise you’re going to be a fraud, a hypocrite. It’s not fair to yourself, it’s not fair to the band and it’s not fair to the fans, if you’re doing something where your heart isn’t in it anymore.”
“One thing that I wasn’t expecting was that some people didn’t even know who Nick Holmes was, and if you don’t know who one of the leading, legendary bands who were there in the roots then you really need to do your homework of metal history.
“It just shows that there is a big gap in the generation and with people growing up these days, the way they treat things is just very lazy how they haven’t gone back and traced their steps and see where its all coming from. If I were in their shoes, im always very jealous because it’s a new world to discover, there’s so much good stuff that they are missing just waiting for them to find.
“You have this thing called Spotify, and of course as a customer it’s a perfect thing, you pay one subscription and you get everything streamed for free but at the end of the day, for me I can see the comfort but I see a lack of magic in that. Theres nothing spiritual about listening to a stream for me, I don’t find myself in position I want. If I buy and album ive paid hard earned money into, I can hold it and I know I own it.
“Nothing says you can’t have both. Life, if you’re on the move then sure, have your Spotify, you can’t take a turntable on a fucking flight.
So, yeah, use your Spotify and itunes but please, keep your collections!”
Words by CHRIS TIPPELL