SEAR BLISS - Grand Destiny (RED STREAM - CD 2002)
Sear Bliss is surely one of my favourite black metal bands when speaking of countries like Poland, Hungary of Czech Republic. They did so many fantastic albums and more so, they managed to create their own style, to become extraordinary and exceptional band. “Grand Destiny” is their third full length album. And I have to say that I was a bit worried before I heard it for the first time back in 2002. And that’s because their previous two albums were a rollercoaster for me. I absolutely loved “Phantoms”, with great combination of raw black metal and atmospheric, monumental parts, strongly enhanced by the brass section. Every song on this album turned out to be superb. But later “The Haunting” came and that album on the other hand disappointed me. I felt like the music became a bit too soft, I didn’t like how the keyboards sounded there and even the trumpets did not help. Generally I think that the songs on Sear Bliss second full length were just not that good and that’s because this album is fairly mediocre and forgettable. So, this is why I was a bit worried before “Grand Destiny” arrived. But damn, this album turned out to be just awesome and actually it belongs to Sear Bliss’ best releases. So, it’s a great return to form.
Basically Sear Bliss kept all the most valuable ingredients for their music, which I liked so much on the debut album. And luckily they avoided sounding a bit too soft like they did on “The Haunting”. So, it’s a perfectly balanced atmospheric black metal, with some exceptional monumental parts, with a lot of additional brass section and great harsh, but clean and powerful sound. Damn, the way this albums starts, with “The World Beyond”, is something you would not expect, because this is fast, very raw sounding, cold black metal that you would not necessarily expect to hear from Sear Bliss, especially after “The Haunting” album. But damn, what a stunning opener, what a vicious and aggressive opening song! It can only promise that “Grand Destiny” will be a great improvement. And it is. Next song is “Death in Torment” and again I am impressed! These first riffs in it, with great addition of trumpet and keyboard sound just fantastic and I love how the atmosphere is being created in the whole song, finished with a nice acoustic theme. And then what? Another fast motherfucker with some exceptional parts – this is “Ars Idiolatriae”. I can easily say that these three songs are enough to give an opinion that “Grand Destiny” is not only an album that exceeds everything Sear Bliss did on the previous full length, but even their fantastic debut can have sometimes difficulties to match that quality.
More so, it seems like “Grand Destiny” belongs to the harshest sounding Sear Bliss albums. The production on it is quite clear, but with that raw, black metal touch what makes it sound so damn good, a bit like Gehenna did on “Malice” maybe. As always Sear Bliss astonishes, for having a great ability to compose interesting and incredibly well arranged songs. Every part of “Grand Destiny”, from start to finish, is excellent and so the whole album has no downs, no fillers, no weak points. It is very damn close to perfection and for sure it is one of the best black metal albums from the early 00’s.
Standout tracks: “The World Beyond”, “Ars Idiolatriae”, “Death in Torment”, “God Man’
Final rate: 90/100