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On disc: Grenouer

The Odour O' Folly / Gravehead - Mike Thompson - 6 stars

The Odour O' Folly / Gravehead

The Odour O' Folly / Gravehead
(Casket Music - 2010)

This is a re-release of two Grenouer albums. 1999's Gravehead and 2001's The Odour O' Folly. With this Russian bands move into a more industrial metal direction in recent times you may wonder why they have bothered to re-release these albums which are far more death metal oriented, but I guess only they know the answer to that!
Gravehead, the earlier album, is a slice of progressive death metal. It has some good bits and some pretty appalling bits. Unfortunately to my ears the appalling bits outnumber the good bits! It starts with a slow piano intro before the first real song, The Time Spool, starts with a guitar riff that reminds me of Germany's Debauchery – like a death metal band playing AC/DC. Not what I was expecting at all! This is probably one of my favorite tracks on the album just for the upbeat feel of the music.
Unfortunately as I've said there is a lot of parts on this album that just make me cringe. One of them is in the third track, Down Under Dome of Heaven. This track isn't too bad apart from the clean singing – its appalling! The case isn't helped by some black metal shrieks that I don't think were needed at all. The whole album is full of these superfluous additions that ruin what is otherwise an 'alright' death metal album. One song even has a Deep Purple-inspired Hammond Organ section. I'm a fan of Jon Lord and Deep Purple but on this album the instrument sounds completely out of place and absolutely ridiculous!
The Odour O' Folly shows Grenouer's hero-worship of death 'n' rollers Entombed with a style very similar to the Swedish band. Its an enjoyable listen but you have heard it all before. However, I'm not letting this one little quibble ruin my enjoyment of what is a very good death 'n' roll album with a lot of good crunching riffs and groovy parts. The vocals are unrelentingly harsh and give the album some extra bite.
The album also contains a live cover of A-ha's Take On Me. I hate this song at the best of times so even though it is rocked up to the max I still think it adds nothing to the album except perhaps four minutes in which to grab another beer.
Overall, The Odour O' Folly is far and away the best album and one that I would recommend to all fans of death 'n' roll, i'd give it 7/10. Gravehead is listenable but not something you will want to stick on repeatedly. Its too experimental for its own good, as if the band was searching for its own identity. This is probably true considering how Grenouer have changed from a death metal band to an industrial metal band now. Gravehead gets 5/10.

6 stars

Mike Thompson


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