Grenouer - The Odour O' Folly/Gravehead (reissue)

Those who know of the Russian band Grenouer for their heavy Industrial/ Groove Metal days would not recognize their first albums when they originally started as a Death Metal band. Recently, the group have decided to revisit their roots, and show fans just how much music evolution can make a huge difference over a band's career. Their second and third album seems like quite a bit of a time travel. Both rooted strongly in a Death Metal/ Thrash Metal sound, it is a far cry from how their latest album, 'Lifelong Days,' turned out to be. Ultimately, the present sound is much better than the past. Both 'The Odour O' Folly' and 'Gravehead' sound much less rich and grittier in the vein of an old school sound that was populer in the 90s. The compilation begins with 'The Odour...' which is a heavier Thrash mix than the other album. Tracks like "Soulhunters" feature a lot more bass and catchier rhythms that act like a roller coaster and just speed up, slow down a bit, and then speed up again. But, fans can definitely tell a difference in the vocals which sound just as ferocious as on the later albums due to the lesser production, especially on the track "Your Beast Tonight." The drumming and guitars sound great and as energetic as they are in the Groove Metal stage, but the lack of electronics and clean vocals and samples just leave listeners high and dry.

'Gravehead' is as deep as the rabbit hole goes. Thicker and heavier than 'The Odour...' it switches around the issues that the other album has. The vocals are right in front and deeper than ever, but the guitars and drums are pushed into the background and the distortion is audibly difficult to overcome, such as on "King's Ebony Blade." On the plus side, when the solos are going, they are much slower and melodic, allowing some brief respite as opposed to how everything was just pure speed on 'The Odour...' 'Gravehead' also includes a few interlude tracks like "The Time Spool" and "The Riddle Of Steel" which first gave hint to the Industrial Metal elements that the band would turn to. These tracks are complete opposites of the Death Metal that populates much of this album. They are more keyboard and a spacey, almost fantasy atmosphere, especially with "Time Spool." While some might think that their earlier efforts were their worse off, compared to 'The Odour...' the music here still includes some diversity and a bit more melody, where the Thrash offering is the band at their heaviest.

Overall these two earlier efforts are an important piece of Grenour history, but as far as how it compares to later works, their efforts in the late 2000s are much better. If fans heard these two albums first before their last album, they might consider Grenour much more watered down than they really are with the present time. Sometimes heavier isn't always better, but it is a good thing that the band evolved the way they did. Of course, for those who think that Grenour sold out with their recent albums and prefer a heavier, old school sound, then revisiting these ealier albums just might be what they need to re-inspire their faith in the band. Will they ever return to the form? Probably not.

The Odour O' Folly
  1. Your Beast Tonight
  2. Confident
  3. Stabbed By Touch
  4. Soulhunters (Spiritual Arches)
  5. Skittle Man
  6. Death Ought To Wait For Me
  7. In-Sect
  8. Take On Me (cover A-HA)
  9. Mind Ruins
  1. The Time Spool
  2. Down Under Dome Of Heaven
  3. Conversing The Dolt
  4. King's Ebony Blade
  5. Predominant Nature
  6. The Riddle Of Steel
  7. Alone In The Dark
  8. Salt Of Mayhem
  9. Mystery

Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Oct 28, 2011

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