Music Reviews

Artist: Gregoriev (@)
Title: When Death Comes
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
From Warsaw (Warszawa), Poland comes Gregoriev, the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Grzegorz Morawski, who has been on the Polish underground metal and rock stage since 2002 as a founder and member of numerous musical acts, such as Ex Anima, Second Nation, Tandeta and, lately, Skóra Åwiata, for which he remains an active lead guitarist. 'When Death Comes' is his first album release under the Gregoriev name, and it's Gothic Metal inspired by the novel 'From the Teeth of Angels' by Jonathan Carroll. (It's a quirky tale of four people's supernatural confrontation with the malevolent angel of death.)

I don't know if it's Grzegorz on the album playing and singing all the parts, but it does sound like a full band. In any case, Gregoriev makes an impact on opening track "Letter", which is accentuated by a fingerpicked electric guitar riff throughout over the goth metal format. Vocals are a bit different on this track any other on the album, and the hook is a good one. There is a spoken word voice-over at times during the music that I'm not sure whether is a dialogue sample or Grzegorz, but it's effective. Towards the end the instrumentation plays double-time (but not the fingerpicked riff), a technique Morawski
must really enjoy because he uses it frequently later on. "Beauty" which follows, has another significant guitar riff as its centerpiece, this time bluesy, and now we get to hear Morawski's singing as it throughout most of the the rest of the album. There is a Nick Cave-like quality to his voice, more in delivery than tone. It's actually quite enjoyable. The song has a decent hook, and the Strawberry Fields-ish flutotron is a nice touch. "Hollow Hand" reminds me of The Cure wrapped in a package with a metal bow. At this point I come to realize that Morawski is a pretty good songwriter as well as a capable and effective vocalist. "War" is proggy goth speed metal and at first Grzegorz's voice doesn't seem right for the material, then he turns his smooth, melodic pipes into a death metal growl and of course, it fits like a glove. He also offers up a blistering solo on this track proving his guitar prowess. Nice work. Title track "When Death Comes" has some nice moments in the guitar interludes but is otherwise a bit of a letdown. (This song might have worked better with a female lead vocal.) "Deceit" is a pretty cool prog-goth number that's powerful on the instrumental breaks, but vocally, a bit weak. Still, it has a certain charm. Final track, "Peace" is sort of a macabre power ballad remaining true to its theme throughout and a fitting conclusion to 'When Death Comes'.

For a debut album, this is quite good, especially in the playing, arrangement, recording, etc.) and is likely to grow on you as well. I should make mention of the keyboard work which adds atmosphere, depth and style. For those looking for something new and different on the goth-metal genre, Gregoriev would be a very good choice. I understand Morawski's in the process of putting together a live band, so nearby Europeans may be in for a treat. America might have to wait awhile, but by then Gregoriev will likely be a much more known quantity.

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