Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Graveyard - The Sea Grave

GRAVEYARD - The Sea Grave (WAR ANTHEM - LP 2013)
“…I call thee, O’ old spirits…” 

The phenomenon of Cthulhu mythos and all eerie novels, which the Providence master of horror named H.P. Lovecraft created, has spread over the heavy metal music in such a way that nowadays it is as common lyrical theme as Satanism, zombies or guts ripping. Metallica had their “The Call of Cthulhu” (amazing song) and later a whole bunch of death metal artists had that lyrical theme used… that takes us back to Morbid Angel, just to name the best example of all. For the recent resurrection of the old school death metal, which one can spot, the Cthulhu mythos has a great importance. Many bands started to use Lovecraft’s works as their lyrical theme, some even created whole concept albums – just listen to both The Grotesquery LPs! And only recently I was frequently listening to albums of such bands as Unaussprechlichen Kulten, Megascavenger, Chapel of Disease, Puteraeon, plus The Great Old Ones – killer post black metal band – all worshipping the creations of Lovecraft and being influenced by his works they used them for lyrics with great results. And now I have yet another album and band, which are totally dedicated to the Great Old Ones, Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep etc. Graveyard is their name and “The Sea Grave” is how they titled their second LP!!!!!!!!

“…The Beast of the night shall foretell their coming…”

Definitely Graveyard is one of my favourite new death metal bands, which play their music in the most old styled and obscure way, in this case being influenced by the great Swedish heritage of bands like Carnage, Entombed and Dismember. I have no doubts that some of the previous works of this Spanish band are essential for every death metal maniac and should be cherished almost as much as some of the classic 90’s albums. You may be allowed to skip “Into the Mausoleum” demo, but you just must get “One with the Dead” LP – amazing debut full length – as well as “The Altar of Sculpted Skulls” – devastating MLP, which contained some rare songs and re-recorded oldies. These two releases are masterpieces of pure old school Swedish death metal (even if the band is Spanish he!). Recently I had a chance to obtain a couple of split EPs with Graveyard being one of their participants: one is a killer release shared by Graveyard and Deathevokation and another is the new 7”EP “Of Ancient Metal and Eternal Death”, which the Spaniards share with Polish Ulcer. Both EPs were great appetizers for me before the main course, which “The Sea Grave” is… and man, even if I knew it will be a killer album I still felt absolutely stunned, when I started to listen to it. It is another masterpiece for me!

“…for they walk not the Earth in their forbidden forms…”

“The Sea Grave” has nine songs – sorry, actually just nine, as three are short instrumental passages, all called “R’lyeh part1-3” – and it is even hard to pick up one, which would be the best from all, so tight and even is the whole material. Obviously Graveyard didn’t discover anything new, why would they? And they take a lot of influence from the old death metal scene – not only from the Swedish one, but also a lot from Autopsy (some doomier riffs have similar dark vibe to them), Bolt Thrower, Death, Morgoth and so many more… Each song has fantastic riffs, many of which have great hooks, so they will hit you hard, but you’ll memorize them right away, so catchy they are… But the music is well varied. There are some melodic themes, aggressive and brutal death metal, some slow, doomy stuff, but also some very fast parts… There’s everything… And the whole time the atmosphere is just eerie, dark and sinister, what created a wonderful, thrilling feeling. This is old school death metal I like most! For me it sometimes sounds like an album, which band like Entombed should have done many years ago… or Dismember, whose latest albums I like a lot, but I feel that they have not managed to compose so fantastic music ever since “Like an Ever Flowing Stream”. Just listen to those melodic themes, which Graveyard have played in many songs of their new album… you literally feel like this album should have been recorded 20 years ago and if it was then Graveyard would now be praised as a legendary death metal band. Take a listen to “The Nurturing of the Cadaver” or “The Visitations of the Great Old Ones”… ha, listen to any song from this LP, as none of them sounds weak. Another mighty example is “Cult of the Shadows Pt. II: I Am the Lord of Spirits”, which reminds me Tiamat from their legendary debut LP “The Sumerian Cry”, but it is “Of He Who Sleeps”, which shines most, with some excellent riffing and guitar leads, not to mention the drumming… actually I think that Graveyard has really taken their arrangements into the perfect shape now!

“…I command all wandering spirits to depart in peace…”

Finally I must say a couple of words about the artwork for “The Sea Grave”. I bet most of you will have the CD version (I hope none of you will try exploring the depths with lousy mp3??), so you won’t see it so well, but if you take a look on the cover of the vinyl version then you’ll realize how amazing that artwork is! Really, what Matthew Carr a’ka Putrid did here is something beyond my imagination. What an awesome piece of work, how detailed, with the great Cthulhu coming out of the depths, creating the storm on the sea and trying to sink that poor ship in the bottom left corner. It looks amazing and I can stare at it for hours, when listening to the album and reading the lyrics, as then the whole concept really makes sense. You’ll find some additional graphics on the back cover and in the insert, so Putrid did phenomenal job for the album. Once again I must say that I am not only totally pleased with the fact that such killer old school death metal bands have been formed within the past decade, but also they managed to bring the culture of using handpainted works for their covers, something I was so missing, when the lousy photoshop shit has flooded the scene… Now, all of a sudden, again I can see some killer illustrators, painting some amazingly looking covers. The scale of it is so huge now that it is just impossible to pick up my favourites, so many killer front covers there are… but it feels great! And now Putrid did this cover for “The Sea Grave” and I can only say: “well done! Please make a huge poster of it, so I can put it on my wall!!!!!! That poster from the LP version is too small hehe!”… Yeah, you may think I’m crazy, but I don’t care. I love when the killer music comes together with amazing artwork and design – and this is what I got with this LP! Highly recommended!

“…In his tomb at R’lyeh Great Cthulhu dreams…”

Standout tracks: “The Visitations of the Great Old Ones”, “The Nurturing of the Cadaver”, “Cult of the Shadows Pt. II: I Am the Lord of Spirits”, “Of He Who Sleeps”
Final rate: 96/100

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