September 21, 2020

Benediction - The Grand Leveller (1991) ☠

*U.S. first pressing.
Contains 10 tracks total.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Death Metal
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)
☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1991 Nuclear Blast America
Review by Lior “Steinmetal” Stein for
Subsequent to my previous review of the band’s debut, I continue to follow the British BENEDICTION’s early career in order to recapture that magic of the old Death Metal scene. A kind of mystic that I think that might be reshaping its malignant form once again in the past several years. With NAPALM DEATH’s Mark Greenway focusing on his main band only, BENEDICTION recruited Dave Ingram, a sort of similar vocal pattern to the young Karl Willets (BOLT THROWER). Funny fact that after Ingram’s departure from BENEDICTION eight years later, he replaced Karl Willets in BOLT THROWER for several years and participated in the 2001’s “Honor-Valor-Pride” album. Anyway, back to the past, the addition of Ingram’s strong vocals, which I believe to be mightier than Greenway’s cookie monster yelps, and BENEDICTION’s continuance upon pushing in their gloomy defiled Death Metal, let to the utmost successful outcome of “The Grand Leveller”. Metal Mind Productions, in a single package with the previous “Subconscious Terror”, reissued this golden gem.

Ascertaining a rather niftier production for this release, “The Grand Leveller” is deemed to be reckoned as a classic among the band’s discography. Under the direction of Paul Johnson, “The Grand Leveller” sounded golden with that appetizing old school sound with guitar reverberation of what appeared to be archetypal Marshall. Therefore, it was even more seducing than “Subconscious Terror” with this particular aspect. Material wise, “The Grand Leveller” is less Punkish, throbbing into the despondency of Death Metal, afflicting a few extreme Doom / Gothic characteristics, yet straightforward as they come.

The song arrangements, in comparison to the former release, sounded somewhat intelligent, yet still in a kind of form that attested a sort of smoothness. I really enjoyed the guitar work, though still rhythm based, but with a crunchier dosage of lead guitar work, attributing some great moments of soloing and depressive petite melodies that amplified divinity. Generally, BENEDICTION upgraded their basic traits from the debut, inhaled the true Death Metal experience and went on with it to become an intensified crushing monster of speed, thickness and brutality. I felt empowered with legendary tunes such as “Jumping at Shadows”, which is far superior than the demo presented on the debut release and with Karl Willets (BOLT THROWER) as backing vocals, “Graveworm”, “Child of Sin”, “Opulence of the Absolute” that creased with a serious of lead guitar enthusiasm and bashing speed determination. The next in line, serving as bonus, “Return To The Eve”, “Ashen Epitaph” and “The Grotesque” shall leave you with a taste of things to come in the band’s future, stating the fact that the class of this release remained also afterwards. On the other hand, the self-titled track, as taken from a scene of a horror B-Movie detonated right in my face, assimilating cracks of SLAYERish type Thrash with the band’s brutal propensity, resulting in one of the band’s assorted tracks, the nastily crossing vibes and cinematic chill will leave you emblazoned.

Surely this is one of BENEDICTION’s best of works as I scour through their albums. Still in the era where Death Metal puked classic pieces one by one, “The Grand Leveller” is a club member. Be sure to grab this one fast.

tags: benediction, the grand leveller, 1991, flac,


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