Early Graves – ‘Goner’ Album Review

A band who, in the past, managed to get the almost certifiable Eugene Robinson of Oxbow to guest on one of their tracks were never going to create an easy ride and thus, unsurprisingly, Early Graves open their new effort with a track entitled ‘Goner’ which sounds like the Dillinger Escape plan and Botch thrashing out Oxbow covers at warp speed. Indeed, such is the aura of grimy blues-ridden authenticity and bug eyed metallic insanity that you blink and the first track has slid past leaving only a greasy smear on your consciousness to let you know it was there at all.

‘Faith is shit’ appears with an equal ambience of menace – part Napalm Death, part Jack Daniels it is a filthy degenerate mess and absolutely awesome for all that, for buried in all the feedback and noise there is an almighty groove that sucks you back in just when you think it’s time to have a shower and wash off the filth once and for all. Continuing the onslaught is ‘old bones’ which, if anything, ups the intensity levels to near fever pitch. It’s every bit as unforgiving as Botch’s classic ‘We are the Romans’ and has a production job that offers plenty in the way of bassy punch. ‘Rot’ is possibly the fastest track of the album – a mere scream from the open window of a passing car that is gone before you register quite what you heard. ‘May day’, on the other hand, is a four-minute long exercise in psychosis that pummels you like a victim on the rendition program for four soul-sapping minutes.

Having proved that they can master their noise over drawn out periods ‘Wraith’ is a similarly lengthy exercise in brutality that offers treacle-thick guitars and throat-ripping screams in equal measure. The remainder of the album returns to the frenetic pace of the first handful of tunes, ‘trauma’ offering exactly that, ‘give up’ almost sounding like an exhortation to the audience who are liable to be too busy smashing each other into a pulp in a mosh pit to care and ‘Bastard tears’ taking the whole thing to new extremes of speed-damaged lunacy. Final track ‘harm’ may well suggest what you will receive from repeated exposure to this wilful racket, but what the hell it’s an astonishing slab of warp-speed evil that will please those with a taste for the extreme end of the spectrum.

Needless to say this relentless slab of noise is not for everyone; while those weaned on DEP, Napalm Death and the none-more-savage grindcore scene will find much to love, it is liable to be far too savage for more conventional rockers, not that that is liable to worry the band much. Music this extreme is but for a handful of devotees and to that end Early Graves have delivered an underground masterpiece of sonic devastation. You have been warned!

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