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Graveslave – ‘No Center’

Independent Release
Despised Icon, Neuraxis, Molotov Solution
Release Date
July 30, 2021
Independent Release
Death Metal

Graveslave is a U.S Death Metal outfit formed in 2014 has recently released their second full length album, ‘No Center’. Now to say this band is strictly Death Metal would do a great injustice to their craft as it’s only one of the many aspects that resides within this entity, as the band and this album showcases a multitude of different musical structures from the realm of Extreme Metal. So how is this album? Let’s find out!

The first noteworthy positive about the album which can be viewed as divisive for some is the production that is emanated forth. The production here takes a rather ‘raw’ approach reminiscent to the early years of deathcore (think the 2008 -2010 period) where the recordings were presented in a crude manner but not so much as to detach from the overall intensity of the spirit Inhibited by each album. Here on Graveslave’s release, the same tactic is utilized where the percussions emit a sound as though the listener is front and center observing the band rehearse in a confined space, how would this act as a positive towards the album? Instead of a more polished sound that would give a gleaming edge towards the recording, here the jagged protrusion grants this release a more organic skin to it rather than feeling fabricated or mechanized, in other words, the fills, the kicks and cymbals, each note that is expelled feels as though it was done through an emotional outlet which adds a layer of vulnerability to the mix. The track, ‘Divide/Divide’ showcases the mentioned point with the density of the strings felt through the pulsating chords coupled with the primal drumming, the uniqueness displayed in this fusion is the meandering paths that are taken by both instruments as a singular entity as it carves through the wall of sound produced in a wave like fashion, with each peak adding a point of climax to the musical structure.

Following with that, another enjoyable element of the album that one may find memorable is the technical prowess brought forth upon, ‘No Center’. By technicality, what is meant is that there is a plethora of influences inlaid in the DNA of the Graveslave’s musical structure, such as the early deathcore sounds of Whitechapel (think ‘The Somatic Defilement’ album) and Despised Icon to the early 2000’s of Technical Death Metal, such as Neuraxis. To the listener, your ears may be attuned to pick up other influences from your listening experience, however the point is that even though the blood of others flows through this singular body, the new mixture is not rejected by the album’s composition, on the other hand, Graveslave refines the elements from these inspirations and configures them to their own formula. The track, ‘Spectral Procession’, exemplifies this statement as in one song, a wave of musical influences stemming from Black Metal, Deathcore, Progressive Metal and Death Metal undulates throughout the track seamlessly like waters breaking and receding against the shore.

The vocals can be viewed as the connective tissue which binds all the mentioned factors above into one cohesive unit, as the lungs which dispels it’s daggers upon the listeners echoes an abrasive and hate filled aura upon every track. The tongue that is soaked in revulsion slithers like a serpent contorting into the emotions necessary to convey each track’s atmosphere, since it was mentioned that the technicality discharged varies, so too does the vocals as it possesses the musical aspect, taking the reins and giving animate life to the songs in whatever mood need be dispelled. The title track, ‘No Center’, can attest to the above, as the vox exudes different spells of air that fills each section of the song writing whether the track delves into a Hardcore breakdown orientation or a Black Metal rhythmic playing or back into a crushing Deathcore chugging pattern, the vocal styling adapts to suit each rendition. One can compare the sounds to Phil Bozeman (Whitechapel) or even Nick Arthur(Molotov Solution), especially combined with the live-like production, it gives the luxury of a visceral edge to the recording of the vocals, which gives the illusion of a legion of voices escaping a single throat in a disarray of disgust.

Overall, this record is fantastically crafted as it harkens back to past remedies that seem to have been forgotten, that being, ‘clean production doesn’t necessarily mean a great record’, Graveslave hones the unprocessed nature of the atmosphere conjured and the result is an organic album filled with hostility, but showing many shades of aggression while doing so. If you’re a fan of old school Technical Death Metal, and early Deathcore, hell even Blackened Deathcore, you may want to pick up this album, as it’s one that treats it’s inspirations with respect but also shows that one needs not the most impressive sound to create a destructive album.

Graveslave have created a destructive album

Come on in!

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