The debut album from Grandiose Malice is a post-humous send-off for decades active extreme metal guitarist Tregenda aka Steve Childers who was best known for his work with black/death metal band Black Witchery. After Childers‘ split from Black Witchery he’d managed to finally see his early 90’s death/thrash project Public Assassin release a full-length with Matt Glaser engineering, who provides drums/vocals for Grandiose Malice. ‘The Eternal Infernal’ was initially only a demo, recorded a couple of months before Childers‘ passing, sent out to friends for feedback. In fitting tribute to their friend several of his close industry friends had a hand in transforming the demo into a sharp blackened death metal release. Legendary graphic artist Chris Moyen created the band’s logo, album artwork was provided by occult artist Ereshkigal, and Joshua Freemon (Demonic Christ, Hellgoat) did some commendable heavy lifting taking the demo’s sound up a few notches without losing the raw blackened edge of Childers‘ guitar work. The resulting album offers admirable tribute to a longtime extreme metal advocate with a scruffy black/death thrasher that respectfully polishes Childers’ raw and focused final vision.
My familiarity with Steve Childers‘ work was mostly limited to the first Black Witchery record from 2001 and his technical death metal project Burning Inside. I was always amazed that the same guy was able to shine within two very different, but equally involved, styles of guitar work. His work with Black Witchery was straightforward and almost purely textural rhythmic black metal in style whereas Burning Inside was a ripping, wailing Brutality-esque death metal hammer that evolved towards ‘Symbolic’ style complexity. I bought ‘Apparition’ at the peak of my tech-death interest and still whip it out for it’s crazy cover art and brutal sound. Completely new to me, as I dug through Childers’ history of work is the later era of Black Witchery which is only slightly echoed in ‘The Eternal Infernal’ and death/thrash band Public Assassin. I’m a nut for oddball death/thrash demos from the 90’s but I’d never heard Public Assassin and they were what I consider middle-tier midwest death metal in an era where groove riffing bled into death/thrash and never really landed but at the very least they were leagues better than Angelkill.
What connects Grandiose Malice to past projects is one relatively small part Black Witchery, a fresh goat-load of Bathory-like swing, and a growlingly noisome heavy metal groove. “The Illusion” seethes and stomps with the thrust of Venom inspired extreme metal and some mind-bending riffs later spiked with cleverly placed harmonics and blackened blasts. There is an almost Greg Ginn quality to some of the slower riffing and use of guitar harmonics, though I’m sure that reference is my own. Though the album bruises the ears with fast and ripping black/thrash kicks, the power of ‘The Eternal Infernal’ is in it’s menacing mid-paced moments. The later tracks gave me a hint of Revenge (Canada) style war-like kicks and an increasingly raw fidelity as it concludes. The true magic of this album all happens between tracks 2 and 5 for my taste and found the mix of rawness and heavy/speed metal nods electrifying.
‘The Eternal Infernal’ is a proper tribute to an artist who plugged away at his passion for dark extreme metal for decades, and even without any provenance Grandiose Malice‘s debut finale is a powerful and raw blackened heavy metal recording.
|Released||March 30, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!||Grandiose Malice on Metal-Archives|
Black Metal, Heavy Metal, Death Metal
Hail to the warlords of death. 3.75/5.0
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