Thursday, 7 June 2012

GRENOUER - Border Of Misty Times (1996)

01  Intro: Sinhisteria
02  Faces Of Death
03  Ahrimans Heart
04  Postnatal Depression
05  When Madness Rules
06  Wakening Of Lords
07  Songster Of Humanity's Dawn
08  A Memorable Fancy

Grenouer is a Russian metal band, formed in 1992 from Perm city. Their name is an intentional misspelling of grimoire, a magic textbook. 'Border of Misty Times' was the band's debut album released by Metalism Records on November 20th 1996 and recorded at Aria Records Studio by Sergey Terentiev and Dmitry Kalinin. The album saw the band switch to English lyrics after their initial EPs had been in their native Russian. If I am honest, I hadn't actually heard of Grenouer before, that was until I was contacted by the band's long-standing frontman Andrey Ind, who was kind enough to send me this album so I could, shall we say, "wrap my ears round it".

The rather intricate albeit off-kilter song structures paired with brutality which is devoid of many current Death Metal outings forms the very heart of this album. There seems to be some experimentation brewing under the surface of the music, which doesn't quite come to fruition although it is being backed by a very competent rhythm section. Furthering the dimensions of the project is the frantic guitar playing of Igor Klimov and vocalist Andrey Ind, who spits and rumbles with the best of the Death Metal crowd. His approach is a bit of a rough, yet discernable growl in the vein Chris Barnes although I'd go as far as saying his range appears superior to Barnes' . Ind has also penned some excellent lyrics concerning the correlation of modern and ancient times; which is much more interesting than the usual B-movie gore-obsessed lyrical delivery, which utimately proves clichéd and ultimately shallow after you've heard countless albums of it.

As a group the band is very tight and this really is some impressive stuff for having been done in ’96. But when all is said and done it’s just a shame that this material wasn’t heard on a wider level when it first came out, because these days I just don’t think it will have much of an impact when put up against today’s young gunners, not to mention other death and thrash metal mainstays that were fortunate enough to live in countries where freedom of expression was, and is, well received. My only complaint is that the album does show it's age and is very much a mid-paced Death Metal record. Final track "A Memorable Fancy" is the perfect example, clocking in at 6 minutes, which ends up being too long due the songs repetitive nature and somehow walks the line between being slightly quirky and expectedly unoriginal.  It shows the level of the band's experience (at the time) whilst not at all hinting at the musical evolution that Grenouer would later undergo on 2006's 'Try'. 'Border Of Misty Times' is a lost, underground entry in the annals of Death Metal that the genre's most hard-core aficionados will probably want to check out. Recommended for fans of bands such as Obituary, Suffocation and Six Feet Under, with stand-out tracks being "Postnatal Depression" and the excellent "Faces Of Death".

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