Thursday, 26 January 2012

Graveyard - One With the Dead

GRAVEYARD - One With the Dead (BLACKSEED Productions - CD 2009)
It's amazing, but the plague called old school Swedish death metal has spread around the globe in terrifying speed, infecting many, nothing expecting maniacs. Nowadays it's not weird anymore if band from wherever else, but not from Sweden, sounds like a Sunlight Studio recording. Like from Spain for instance, where you can find such bands as Morbid Flesh, Unconsecrated and Mass Burial. This is also where Graveyard hails from. Barcelona, to be more exact. Anyway, I don't know whether it's good or not that something what used to considered as a main characteristic for one particular scene and country is so spread that everyone - wherever he lives - is able to adopt it. It's a subject for a long discussion, which would take us anywhere anyway, but the truth is that nowadays not necessarily a Greek sound must come from Greece and Swedish sound come from a Swedish band.
To me the country of origin doesn't matter, as long as the music is fine. And trust me, Graveyard does fuckin shred with their death metal and these guys do it better than many, many Swedes! I've got in my collection their debut MCD "Into the Mausoleum" and it was very OK, although musically it was slightly different, more archaic and primitive type of death metal, not necessarily Swedish sounding, as there were also many similarities to the early American scene and bands like Autopsy and Death (Mantas). With "One With the Dead" though Graveyard took a huge step forward in every aspect of the musicanship.
The production was the first of such big improvements that I've noticed on the LP. "Into the Mausoleum" pretty much sounded rough and sort of very obscure, while the album has got a nice, crispy and aggressive sound with guitars in the vein of Sunlight Studio’s HM2 distortion. I can honestly say that Graveyard is one of those bands, who took this sound into the new era and as such "One With the Dead" sounds very close to Interment's "Into the Crypts of Blasphemy" or Evocation albums for instance, which means it's aggressive, powerful, full of energy, with a slightly modern touch, but still very old school and of course with the characteristic buzzzzz of the guitars. And it's a great production, if you ask me!!!
And for the songs, well there's absolutely nothing more to demand from this band, as they've managed to compose absolutely killer ten tracks of pure Swedish school of death metal and comparing them to the "Into the Mausoleum" it feels like comparing "Left Hand Path" with "Premature Autopsy" if you know what I mean. Or maybe "Dismembered" with "Like an Ever Flowing Stream", as Graveyard is much closer stylistically to Dismember than Entombed. They have those razor sharp riffs, played with great passion and enthusiasm, they have the aggression and of course there are plenty of hooks and infectious melodic parts, which is always the most exciting part of such albums. It's pointless to mention the best songs from "One With the Dead" as I would go for the whole tracklist, but I can say that "Carven Epitaph" may be the least cool song on it (still great though), but if I really, really had to choose some of my favourites I would go for "Pantheon Vulture", "Necrology", "One with the Dead" and "The Skull", as this song is just really killer doom / death metal anthem, with amazing creepy atmosphere and even some keyboards to make it even darker. Fantastic stuff, really. Graveyard have picked up only great riffs, no fillers and boring parts, the whole album is just faultless and the whole 45 minutes go really quickly, but that's good, because once "One with the Dead" ends I play it over again.
I must also mention two more songs, which I think make "One with the Dead" even more varied. First one is the instrumental "Abandoned Churches", with some wonderful riffing and melodic leads, which remind me nothing else but the mighty Iron Maiden! And the second track is "A Tale of Creation", Candlemass' cover, which sounds fantastic. It actually reminds me Swedish band called Satariel, who did an album called "Phobos and Deimos" in 2002, which offered a cool mixture of Swedish death metal with Candlemass-like doom, and even featured Messiah Marcolin on vocals in few songs. That sounded great and "A Tale of Creation" really reminds me that album, with the mix of raspy growlings and classic Candlemass clean singing. Anyway, I love the original version of it and thought it could be a blasphemous interpretation, but no, it actually turned out to be fuckin amazing and I love it! Of course it’s more brutal and slightly faster, played with a death metal feeling and without the sorrowful atmosphere of the original, but I really like it anyway!
What else can I write? Eh, I don't know, so let’s the music speaks for itself and trust me, "One with the Dead" is just a killer album. Yes, it did take a lot of inspiration from Sweden and yes, it may lack an originality, but again, I don't care. The songs are unbelievably strong here, I've been listening to it for like 50 times in past two weeks and can honestly consider "One with the Dead" to be one of the best albums of the recent years and I'm not talking about the old school death metal only, but metal in general. Definitely a must to have!
Standout tracks: "Pantheon Vulture", "Necrology", "One with the Dead", "The Skull", "A Tale of Creation"
Final rate: 98 / 100

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