It takes a lot of blood, sweat, beers to make it in the music business. A lot of bands form around a good idea, some beers, mutual bands, or a few riffs, heat up, run cold and call it day. Few bands have the temerity to overcome real adversity with all the music industry shit that crushes your soul. If you know, you know. Graveslave has overcome the death of their original vocalist Don “Doombringer” Durkee in 2019, and are still here. Putting out a killer EP during the lockdown Devotion, and now a new album, this is far above what most others could muster. No matter what happens in their career, they have defied the odds for the love of music.
Hailing from the cold Norse-flavored North American city Minneapolis, a town known equally for brutal extreme metal, and certain sexy MF named Prince (RIP to the Purple King). On the surface, the dudes in Graveslave are a fun bunch who have themed EPs based on Magic the Gathering cards. Like a lot of modern Death Metal or Grind bands, they are heavy, they are not afraid to be too catchy, and they don’t adhere to a lot of typical tropes. Fans in equal measures of Cattle Decapitation, The Black Dahlia Murder, good USBM, but are not afraid to fly a little freak flag too, a little like The Dilinger Escape Plan. That is at least a guess, and perhaps the tip of the iceberg. While they might bend some genres, they don’t wormhole jump between styles too much within a song. It’s more of a device to take the songs to another level and speaks to their talent. That means they do a nice job keeping their writing cohesive and tight.
No Center (Trvasfuk Music) opens with a mood setter in the “The Depths,” with its chill guitars contrasted by harsh vocals that build and build. “Divide/Divide” ebbs and flows between furious speed, and slower motifs. Like every track here, vocalist Ashton George just wrecks your ears with his howls. He is complemented nicely in spots on vocals by guitarist Roman Non, and when the songs are not vomiting broken glass on you, there is the occasional melody or even a post-Hardcore feel singing part.
“Bird In Hand” begins like a slow groovy beast, not unlike early USDM bands. Cool as shit poly drum rhythms give way to a more straight forward heavy jam. There is also a terrific shreddy guitar solo. Definitely a banger! “Spectral Possession” fades in like a hungover bad dream, and has a great angular riffs that make me think of art-house movies and murdering pretentious people at the theater. Also, I am the killer in this story.
None of the tracks stays very long, and everyone playing in this band is super talented and no parts are unnecessary. Some of the other top tracks in this short in length – not on riffs album includes the title track and the closer, “In The Mouths of Giants.”
If you can overcome real-life pain and shit like Graveslave has and still make crushing music, you are on your way to a long career in the game.
Buy the album here: https://graveslavemn.bandcamp.com/
8 / 10