Review 1848 : Grand Cadaver – Deities of Deathlike Sleep – English

Grand Cadaver walks again.

Formed in Sweden in 2020 by Mikael Stanne (vocals, Dark Tranquillity, The Halo Effect, ex-Septic Broiler… ), Christian Jansson (bass, Pagandom, Dark Tranquillity), Daniel Liljekvist (drums, ex-Katatonia, ex-In Mourning), Stefan Lagergren (guitar, The Grifted, ex-Expulsion, ex-Mr Death, ex-Tiamat) and Alex Stjernfeldt (guitar, Child, Let Them Hang, Novarupta, ex-Mr Death), the band presents itself with a first EP, followed by an album. Deities of Deathlike Sleep, their second full-length, is announced for 2023, still in collaboration with Majestic Mountain Records.

The album gets off to an aggressive start with The Forever Doom, which showcases the HM-2’s distinctive sound and raw vocals. The band however does know how to place more ethereal elements, notably on its choruses, before letting fury resurface on A Crawling Feast of Decay, letting the Old School roots express themselves at full speed on the jerky patterns. Screaming leads easily join the mix, as do the soaring parts, which turn into ominous sounds on The Wishful Dead, which first lets the haunting slowness work before accelerating while keeping its darkness. Serrated Jaws quickly follows with its crushing riffs topped by ferocious howls, before incorporating heady melodies, then returning to devastating rage with Deities Of Deathlike Sleep, which offers a highly rhythmic, catchy approach. The band follows up with Vortex of Blood, the shortest of the album’s ten tracks, which wastes no time in unleashing its full power, before letting the heavy introduction of Funeral Reversal crush us. The sound remains relatively slow, apart from a more virulent explosion halfway through the track, and is followed by True Necrogeny, which feeds the oppressive atmosphere while leaving a niche for leads to contrast the wave of heaviness. Aggression picks up again with Stabbed With Frozen Blood and its energetic riffs, which remain effective throughout the track without ever faltering, then the long Necrosanctum brings this second album to a close with a morbid, unhealthy groove that fits perfectly with the band’s dark approach, including during the more melodic but equally impressive final section where an intense voice joins in with the rhythmics.

Grand Cadaver‘s Swedish roots make them a prime candidate for keeping this Death Metal heritage alive, but the band still manages to integrate abrasive, scathing melodies into Deities of Deathlike Sleep, quickly making it a must-listen.


Version Française ?

Few questions to Stefan Lagergren, guitarist for the band Grand Cadaver.

Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Could you please introduce yourself and the band Grand Cadaver without using the usual Metal labels such as “Death Metal”?
Stefan Lagergren (guitar): Hello, thanks for having me! My name is Stefan Lagergren and I play the guitar in Grand Cadaver. We’re a bunch of friends that decided to meet up and play some music with roots in the late eighties underground, which some of us experienced first hand.

How do you link the name Grand Cadaver to the band’s music identity?
Stefan: The majority of everything we do is very spontaneous and comes from a wish to just enjoy ourselves. When we talked about band names, someone said “Grand Cadaver”, and the rest liked it, so we had a name. There’s truly not much more than that. I think it’s a great name, and it’s hard to mistake it for anything other than a Death Metal band.

Your second album Deities of Deathlike Sleep is about to come out, how do you feel about it? Do you already have some feedback?
Stefan: We are very proud of it. It turned out really good, and it was easy and enjoyable to record. Our first album had all members at the studio at almost all time, but this time we had to divide it a bit due to scheduling.  We have released a batch of singles from the album, and the reactions have been fantastic.

How would you sum Deities of Deathlike Sleep’s identity up in only three words?
Stefan: Dark, diverse, massive.

How did the composition process happen for Deities of Deathlike Sleep? Did you notice some differences with the previous releases?
Stefan: We’re in different cities, so we never meet up in a rehearsal place. Alex is a creative explosion, and writes music very fast, very often. Most often he records his stuff at home, and send to the others, and there are some bouncing back and forth. A couple of songs Alex initiated together with Christian, and this time our permanent producer Per Stålberg had written a song for us. One difference this time was that we had working titles for the songs, earlier the songs were just labeled “Death Metal 1”, “Death Metal 2” and so on, which in hindsight was pretty stupid.

What about the artwork, what were the guidelines and how do they fit with the music you created?
Stefan: We’re very happy with our team, and we like to keep the same people involved as much as possible. Albin Sköld has made the cover artwork for our previous LP and EP’s, and there was no question that he should make the new one too. We don’t give him guidelines. He visits us in the studio, we give him the album title, and he starts creating. The title is a bit vague, and I love that the artwork is very concrete with coffins and pallbearers, but also abstract since you wonder what the hell is going on.

Where do you find inspiration to create your music?
Stefan: Everywhere, essentially. But definitely experiencing live music. If I see a great gig by a band, I can hardly wait to get home to a guitar and write stuff.

The band uses the famous HM-2 to build such a chainsaw sound, how did you decide to embrace this Swedish legacy instead of another Death Metal approach?
Stefan: It simply is the greatest Death Metal guitar sound.

I also noticed a piercing voice at the end of Necrosanctum, is this Mikael’s voice? How did you combine it with such haunting tones to end the album?
Stefan: The higher voice is Christian’s. He sings in his band Pagandom, and has a fantastic vocal style that we love. The first time I got to experience it first hand was when we recorded our first EP, and it made the windows in the studio shake. Christian is a soft spoken, easy-going nice guy, but when he gets a microphone in front of him, he turns into Tom Araya trying to murder someone. I think that the additional vocals, by Christian and Alex, are essential to our sound. The ending of Necrosanctum was, once again, spontaneous and spur-of-the-moment. When everything was recorded, we felt that we could make the ending even more maxed-out and added the vocals.

Maybe you have a favorite song on this album? Or maybe the hardest one to achieve for the album?
Stefan: When we talked about releasing the first single, we almost felt that we could pick any song, since we loved them all. I like True Necrogeny a little bit extra, mainly because it’s so different. Extremely simple, and very slow, so I find it almost hypnotic, But the hardest one to nail was Funeral Reversal. Me and Alex have played together forever and know each others’ style very well, but that song was Christian’s, and he writes in a totally unique way, which I had a really hard time grasping at first.

Every musician in Grand Cadaver also has other bands or projects, how do you find time to work with every project? How do you think “this riff would be better for this project”?
Stefan: Grand Cadaver doesn’t take up much time really. I mean, we record an album in the same time it takes Dark Tranquillity to unload their gear. But we all try to set aside time for Grand Cadaver, just because it’s so easy going and enjoyable. But it is obviously a challenge to compete with some of the members’ other bands’ schedules, and we have had to decline a few things because of that. Regarding which band gets which material,  I think we sit down and “now it’s time to write for a Grand Cadaver song” and those riffs stays in that “bucket”.

Do you think you are still improving yourself as a musician and songwriter?
Stefan: I am nowhere near a peak, guitar wise, but after 35 years I have learned a thing or two. However, I do think I improve as a musician every time I learn a new song. There’s always some stuff I haven’t done before. And it’s a dream come true to play together with Daniel, whom I consider one of the best drummers in our scene.

The band played a few shows in Sweden, your home country, and also one at Majestic Mountain Fest in Oslo. How was this experience for you? How does it feel to bring this band to the stage?
Stefan: The short tour we did with At The Gates was awesome. Our second-ever gig was the first on that tour, in At The Gates’ hometown nonetheless. I don’t know the crowd number, but it was waaaay more people than I had ever played before. The nerves got a bit of an exercise, but with these guys beside me there’s never any issues. They know their stuff. It’s always a blast to get together with the band and play live, we have had great crowds and we always have fun when we’re together.

Do you consider large tourings with Grand Cadaver?
Stefan: We consider everything. But with the aforementioned scheduling issues, there are some limits to what we can do.

Are there any musicians or artists you would like to collaborate with? Whether it is for one song, or maybe more.
Stefan: Not really. We talked about having guest vocals on something, but figured that we didn’t have a song that really needed such embellishments. For me personally, it would be a bit of a nightmare to try to write a song together with a “stranger”. I’m way too critical of my own stuff, so such a writing session wouldn’t amount to anything.

Maybe you know the French Metal scene? Which bands do you like?
Stefan: I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t kept up with your scene for quite a while. I still have the old demos from Massacra, Mercyless, and maybe some more, but that was 30 years ago. I’d love to go to France with Grand Cadaver and experience the scene as it is nowadays.

If you had to organize a concert for Deities of Deathlike Sleep’s release show, with which bands would you love to play with? I let you create a poster with Grand Cadaver headlining and three other bands!
Stefan: Grand Cadaver, supported by At The Gates, Obituary and Autopsy. That would really be a night to remember. And we would be totally pulverised by the other bands. It would be for only one night, so the pain would eventually go away.

Funny and last question: which dish would you compare Grand Cadaver’s music with?
Stefan: A really good hamburger. Classic, no fuss, no frills, but made with dedication, and damn tasty.

That was the last question for me, so thank you very much for your time and your music, last words are yours!
Stefan: Thank you very much!

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