Saturday, June 07, 2014

Review: Graves at Sea - This Place is Poison

Given that Graves at Sea only have a demo, single and split it's surprising to see that they have over 6,000 'likes' on Facebook, making them one of the more popular bands that have a very minimal amount of releases. It's probably helped that the group have toured extensively over their decade-long career, having formed in 2002. A series of line-up changes has plagued the band since they began, and even now members are scattered throughout the United States but they still are able to come together to make a record. The latest release being the EP This Place is Poison.

Genre: Sludge Metal, Doom Metal
Label: Eolian Empire
Release Date: April 8th, 2014
  1. This Place is Poison
  2. Orchid/Lord of this World (Black Sabbath Cover)
Total Playtime: 19 minutes, 49 seconds




Rating: 8.0/10




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Given that Graves at Sea only have a demo, single and split it's surprising to see that they have over 6,000 'likes' on Facebook, making them one of the more popular bands that have a very minimal amount of releases. It's probably helped that the group have toured extensively over their decade-long career, having formed in 2002. A series of line-up changes has plagued the band since they began, and even now members are scattered throughout the United States but they still are able to come together to make a record. The latest release being the EP This Place is Poison.

The short, two-track EP starts out promisingly enough with a heavily distorted guitar that's breaching maximum fuzz. The riffs accompanying the guitar are a mellow, crushing groove/doom hybrids made up by the deepest power chords available. There is also a solo present later into the song, however it goes largely unnoticed as it's layered below the other instruments. The drum track follows along in the background with the same snare-percussion-snare beat for almost the entire duration of the song, with a few seconds of exception. The vocals are high pitched rasps that verge on the border of black metal influence, and are heard very clearly belting out the lyric "You can check out anytime, but you can never leave", an obvious tip of the hat to "Hotel California" by The Eagles; this isn't surprising, as there's a clearly prevalent classic rock influence doused over the content.


The second track is made up of two Black Sabbath covers, both of which are performed surprisingly well. For those unaware, "Orchid" is an instrumental song devoted to marching drum beats, tambourines, acoustic finger picking and the occasional audio snippet; the song itself has a gloomy Native American vibe to it, and Graves at Sea have managed to carry that feeling over well. "Lord of this World" has been made all the more heavy by the band's signature guitar tuning and fuzz-to-the-max distortion level, making the song even darker than the original. This time around, the main vocals are a little deeper but still raspy and rough; this element needs some slight improvement, as the vocalist comes across as though he's struggling to maintain the growls. The second set of vocals that appeared in the first track also make their appearance, teaming up in a duo with the deeper set. The bass also makes an audible appearance later into the track with deadly, thunderous thumping.

While the audience only gets one glimpse at the creative potential possessed by Graves at Sea in This Place is Poison, the band's rendition of two classic Black Sabbath songs carries over fairly well and shows that they are able to improve the wheel, so to speak. In fact, the cover songs are more welcomed than the title track in many regards, especially due to the cringe-worthy chorus line that's ripped straight from "Hotel California. Despite that, this short little doom EP is worth banging your head to for a couple of listens.

Digital Download Provided by: Earsplit PR

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