GRAVEYARD - The Altar Of Sculpted Skull (DOOMENTIA - 12"MLP)
Last month I've found out that Dismember, after 20 years of their death metal crusade, has split up. I'm not going to hide the fact that they're one of my favourite bands ever and that I worship every album they've done - whether we speak about "Like an Ever Flowing Stream", "Massive Killing Capacity", "Hate Campaign" or whatever. They’re all killer. So, these were some fuckin' sad news (at the same time I kind of expected it to happen since Fred Estby left). These news would be even more fucked up, if it wasn't for the fact that Dismember has inspired so many other bands and there's the new generation of old school death metal acts, some of which carry on the crusade in almost equally successful way. Of course a copy will never be as good and exciting as original, but they can always try and work hard to get some killer recordings. Graveyard belongs to the group of bands which are most promising, no doubt. Their debut CD, "One with the Dead" was pure Swedish inspired death metal insanity and I liked it a lot. And what we have here is "The Altar Of Sculpted Skull", 12"EP, with a collection of few songs and some older ones, re-recorded for this release. Doomentia Records as always did a great job with their release, the layout looks cool, but sadly there's no insert card with the lyrics, etc, which is a disappointment. Also I do hope "The Altar Of Sculpted Skull" will remain as the vinyl ONLY release, as it would make it more unique.
Anyway, the music kills. There are six songs of traditional death metal in the Swedish vein and that should be enough for the whole description of this EP. If you're a fan of "Like an Ever Flowing Stream", "Clandestine" and "Dark Recollections", then "The Altar Of Sculpted Skull" will speak to you in the language you understand. The music is damn vicious and obscure, 666% in the classic style, without any modern influences, so also the production is filthy and raw. The first song, title one, is probably my favourite one, it's relatively fast and energetic, with some cool melodic riffs and in overall it could easily been taken from "Indecent & Obscene", if you didn't know. But every song here is great, not just that one... "An Epitaph Written In Blood" is almost equally shredding and "Cult of the Shadows" is an instrumental, based on some cool guitar leads and slow, hypnotizing riffs. Re-recorded "Howl of the Black Death" (originally featured on "Into the Mausoleum" EP) is another standout track, which will crush your skull and make some serious damage. When "Deathcrowned" started I had a small objection about its sound, as it has changed from the previous two tracks (for worse I think); this song was recorded during different recording session, but you can quickly use to it. By the way, I'm quite amazed how well does Graveyard manage to imitate the Stockholm's sound. The guitars sound just like from the Sunlight, which is great if you like it. One may moan whether there's any point in copying other band's style and sound so much, and if there's any sign of originality in bands like Graveyard. Well, I don't care, they may not be original, but at least they play killer music, which I always liked and was my favourite and have some awesome riffs. And if they do it well, then there's no problem. And trust me, Graveyard is fuckin great band and "The Altar Of Sculpted Skull" is fuckin superb EP.
Standout tracks: "The Altar Of Sculpted Skull", "Howl of the Black Death"
Final rate: 90 / 100