GROTESQUERY, THE  The Lupine Anathema (And Other Bloodcurdling Tales Of Horror And The Macabre)  CD   (MDD / Xtreem Music)   14.99

The last (as of now) album from this death metal supergroup of sorts, 2018's The Lupine Anathema (And Other Bloodcurdling Tales Of Horror And The Macabre) goes full werewolf berserker, and at the same time serves up their most memorable album of their career, peppering their old-school brutality with some really wild stylistic shifts and hook-laden songwriting that makes this a crazed trip to experience. This is actually where I discovered the band, and loved the craziness of Lupine so much that I've been working backwards through their discography all the way back to 2010's Tales Of The Coffin Born. These guys obviously stand out with a notable lineup of death metal veterans, with Massacre / Mantas frontman Kam Lee on vocals, the rhythm section of Swedes Johan Berglund and Brynjar Helgetun (Ribspreader), and guitarists Rogga Johansson and Kjetil Lynghaug. Some of these guys have been playing with Lee for awhile as part of his revival version of Massacre, so there's some solid musical telepathy already going on.

An orgy of feral, violent snarling blasts open the gruesome death metal of "Under the Curse of the Full Moon ", the mixture of classic Swedish heaviness and Lee's guttural savagery rampaging across the beginning of the album with huge riffs and vicious tempo changes galore, his vocals splattering into gusts of acrid vomit and delay-tinged trippiness. The riffing is massive, as you'd expect from those guys, with eerie leads winding like dying vines through the crush. More trium[hant-sounding melodic leads begin to ascend over the album as "By Feral Ways " and "Wrath of the Garvulves (By the Eyes of Moonlight) " glide between mid-paced grooviness and double-kick powered majesty, serving up an ongoing series of bloody hooks that pierce each of these ten songs; for fans of vintage Swedeath, this album has a lot to offer. That lycanthropic theme directs every single song, tapping into ancient European folklore, Lovecraftian mythos, and Cajun tradition to form these riotous blasts of chromatic riffing, sick whammy-bending shred, and rhythmic punishment. Some offbeat keyboard segueways and spoken word pieces start showing up, adding to the whole lupine mood, and the songs start to show off some more rocking elements, like the Edge Of Sanity-esque songs "The Faceless God", ‚ÄĚDark Cry of the Wolf‚ÄĚ, and the goddamn chug-a-thon "As Death Dies "; that catchiness keeps comin', song after song, while Lee's vocals get grosser and more abominable. It rules. In fact, much like Edge Of Sanity, there's a certain goth rock-like quality that emerges in the latter half of Lupine, which has had some folks draw comparisons to Sisters Of Mercy in the manner that Grotesquery crafts these dark, driving, incredibly catchy rock hooks and surrounds them with that downtuned metallic intensity, and Lee even drops into a deep baritone for a moment on "Bloodcurdling Tales". It never quite gets to what Edge did with their song "Sacrificed", if you know what I mean, but it certainly feels like it could at any moment. With a very tiny proggy element showing up in a couple of spots, this all works together to produce one seriously catchy death metal album.

Track Samples:
Sample : Bloodcurdling Tales
Sample : Dark Cry of the Wolf
Sample : The Faceless God