Gravecoven – Coughing Blood (2018)

Gravecoven

Coughing Blood

Godz Of War Productions

We have another strong two-man project here, proving that all you really need to make an awesome band is one guy to the vocals, and another to do everything else (laughs). Not saying I would know anything about that, (of course you would, you egotistical bastard) but I will say that what I’m hearing here is just as meaty, grim and perfectly evil as I would like. The vocals come off like utter torture, the sound a man might make if his back is being cut into and slowly ripped apart to throw onto the ground in order to sacrifice to some great demon the other guy summoned. Which is exactly how it works with these guys, right?

“Summoning Vengeance” is the perfect example of thick death with heavy tufts of atmosphere, making it sound even more volatile than those Swedish slabs of old. A tiny bit of black metal finds it way into “Furious Fires” except for the fact that the other guy sounds like he’s been caught in a windstorm. There’s this monstrous growl in the foreground, and then this tiny yell that almost sounds like “help me!” which kind of makes me chuckle and takes me out of the performance just a little bit. Towards the end of the piece, it sounds like both men are begging for their lives, so that suits my palette pretty well. Someone is apparently trying to take them to a concentration camp in order to concentrate on concentrated orange juice. Which might happen one day for all of us, especially considering Tay.AI and the AI created Olive Garden commercial. Our future robot overlords might consider it comedy along with the infinite breadstick.

As we keep going, I notice that one of the musicians has now been replaced with a howling wolf on “Spiritual Violence” and also, some monks decided to walk into the building. They might be ghost monks though, as the wolf keeps howling as the drums continue to blast and the deathly thick growls continue to hold my interest amongst the ferocious bass pounding that such an album encompasses. This guy sounds like the coyotes outside, so he’s definitely been practicing. Though what really hooks me here are the damn thumps. I know that’s it’s not technologically efficient to consider them “thumps” but how else can you describe pounding grooves, especially when that’s how they feel?

“The Ecstasy Of Hatred” closes the performance, definitely with more of a black metal feel than ever (which is a shame, as “Summoning Vengeance” really left a mark on me) apart from what might be overdoing it just a bit as I can’t discern one ounce of vocal other than the howls and growls. There can’t be words in those growls, there just fucking can’t. Then the monks come back in to assess what’s going on within this concoction, and surely I can’t blame them when it comes down to this. I’d have to say that there is a somewhat early Wolves In The Throne Room vibe here, albeit with better production value than some of their earlier releases and that might appeal. Throw in the Grave influence of course, and you’ve got a neat little band trying to break the mold. These guys don’t know if they want to be thundering death, raw black or DSBM and I couldn’t be happier. Now I can actually hear a couple of words within the growls, so it doesn’t sound quite so animalistic. Once again, the monks come back to help illustrate the slight melodies offered here. It’s odd, but this record can sound quite tribal and animalistic, almost like caveman music if we’d had electricity in prehistory.

Gravecoven offer a great deal of promise in twenty minutes, as they mix together what might come off as bizarre (traditional death metal and DSBM) and manage to mold it well enough that it doesn’t come off as a gimmick in a scene so filled to brim with them. I definitely look forward to more of what this band has to offer, because this is rather interesting and it’s far more interesting than the accessible hard rock they’re playing on the commercial radio. Five Finger Death Punch might be catchy, but Gravecoven actually offer an experience that goes far beyond verse/chorus, even if those groove riffs can be relatively catchy in their own right. Definitely give this experience a chance, even if you don’t like DSBM like myself, because this is one of the very few approaches (in possibly thousands of albums) where I actually don’t seem to mind the wolf howls. The death metal elements and deep growls seem to offset those remarkably well. I’m shocked and astonished. Check this anomaly of extremity out at the link below.

(4 Tracks, 20:00)

7/10

Purchase HERE (Bandcamp)

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