Groteskh – Code: End

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A very solid slab of black metal…

Review by Dan Alderson

Cursed Records

Release date: 15 May 2015

The sophomore effort from Austria’s Groteskh, who before this promo I had never heard of. When I saw the band using a play on letters to form the word “Grotesque” to name their band and an album title Code: End I thought to myself, “Oh, here we go”, especially after seeing the band’s largely pretentious photos from their promo pics. However, I can honestly say Code: End is a very solid slab of black metal.

Black metal can be very hit or miss. For me, it’s one of my favourite styles of metal and it only takes one good listen of a classic for it to be dominating my playlist for months. With Code: End, Groteskh could honestly see themselves making a regular part of such playlists for black metal enthusiasts such as myself. The opening track ‘Mystery Orbs’ managed to end my doubts surrounding Groteskh as soon as it got going. From there on, the band deliver a guitar-driven repertoire of complex and diverse set of songs. The album has a healthy amount of dynamic and Groteskh showcase plenty of good ideas throughout, from technical and bludgeoning riffs to more melodic and atmospheric ideas. An example of the latter can be heard in good effect in the closing sections of ‘Posthuman’.

Performances across the board are very solid, with the highlight being the excellent riff and lead work courtesy of guitarists “Goreman”, “Holytoxicomaniac” and “Almighty Isul”. The drum work is spot on as well, with a host of interesting flourishes to stock beats and fills to keep things interesting across the board. Vocally, “Holytoxicomaniac” keeps things in the classic black metal bark, with a solid approach. The production of the album is organic, as expected for black metal at this level. Things are certainly not “necro” which is a positive, as it allows Groteskh to fully realize their good ideas here. However, it is an area in needs of definite improvement next time, as I think a slightly bigger production job would take this band to rather large heights, a more emphasis on the low end would be nice as well, for as great as the performances are across the board, the bass isn’t as prevalent as It could be.

Overall, a very nice surprise for me and I will definitely be spending time with this release. Groteskh provide a thorough amount of enjoyment on Code: End and could even provide enjoyment for those who struggle with black metal as they certainly keep things heavy and interesting throughout with their riff-orientated take on black metal. Recommended.

Groteskh – CodeEnd20157.5 out of 10  

Track listing:

  1. Mystery Orbs
  2. Delusions of Immortality
  3. Displaced Axis
  4. Posthuman
  5. Doomdevil
  6. Nothing Exists
  7. Oblivion of Being
  8. Code: End
  9. Illumination
  10. Moral Pessimism
  11. Abandoned Mines