Gravety – ‘Into The grave’ Album Review

Formed in 2009, Gravety have taken the difficult option of not only releasing their debut album themselves but simultaneously developing a sound that sits somewhere between traditional heavy metal, thrash and doom. ‘Into the grave’ is the band’s debut effort – a searing blast of fist-pounding, adrenalin super-charging metal that will have heavy music fans bug-eyed with excitement, and even if you’re not convinced the press release ominously warns “don’t think you can hide, because all of you will be thrashed, doomed and surely get into the grave!” Well, I can think of worse ways to go…

With a short intro the band launch straight into the powerful trad-metal of ‘stroke of fate’, a full on metal belter that takes the clean, Candlemass-esque vocals of Kevin Portz and offsets them with the Neanderthal grunts of Gernot Gebhard, one of the band’s two guitarists who clearly represents Gravety’s most direct link to extreme metal. The song is a great introduction to the band, offering furious riffs, blistering solos and a neck-destroying half-time section that is straight out of a doom release for added power. It’s a stunning opening by any standards and the only mystery here is why on earth this band aren’t signed, a mystery that only deepens as you progress further into the album’s brutal yet melodic grooves. ‘Decay of life’ has a chugging central riff that sits somewhere between Iron maiden and reverend bizarre’s ‘doom all over the world’. It’s another epic song that showcases Gravety’s musical and compositional ability as they graft together genres with ease, the vocals delivered with a style and panache that brings to mind Rob Lowes excellently measured performance on ‘death magic doom’. In an abrupt volte-face  ‘Judge your god’ sees Gravety head down the thrash trail, Lukas Didion pummelling the kick drums with real force and precision for a furious attack that suddenly digresses leaving breathless at the band’s audacity and musical nous. Clearly enjoying the sort of mind boggling time signatures and wild tempo shifts that made ‘…and justice for all’ such a compelling listen, Gravety are clearly masters of their craft and the result is nothing short of astonishing. ‘False messiah’ is a slower beast, following on from its predecessor’s slash and burn tactics with an oddly syncopated riff that slowly builds up a full head of steam before unleashing the beast – huge, juddering waves of guitar giving way to melodic passages of sweeping, melancholic grandeur, Kevin Portz’s voice always at the heart of the maelstrom, beckoning you on to still darker places.

Right at the very centre of the album you’ll find the grandiose splendour of the title track. A six minute epic, it captures the band crafting a huge, doom-laden edifice which crackles with tension and electricity. It is the perfect centrepiece to an album that has much to offer both in terms of musicianship and the naked ambition of the musicians and over its six minutes it covers the whole gamut of styles that Gravety so expertly have incorporated into their album. ‘Asylum’ sees the band emerging from the oppressive darkness with hints of Megadeth’s thrash attack shot through a song that is, at its heart, pure, supercharged metal, sharp of spike and black of leather. The largest surprise comes courtesy of the monumental ‘Curse of the catacombs’, a track with an Egyptian feel to atmospheric opening, which proves to be as nothing when compared to the complex nature of the track itself. Best described as prog-metal, its complex twists and turns are densely plotted and impeccably played by a band who are clearly out to prove that they are capable of anything. ‘Summoning ritual’ has a tough act to follow, but Gravety remain undaunted and the music is as grand and sweeping as the title may suggest, with Gernot’s brutal vocals taking centre stage for a track which is both brutal and majestic at the same time. Final track ‘axe of execution’ opens to a sample of some poor creature screaming before a flurry of hard-edged riffs take you on one last epic journey before the album draws to a close.

Gravety are a pure heavy metal band, the sort of passionate and dedicated metallers who undoubtedly grew up with Iron Maiden tattooed to the deck and well-worn posters of Dio on the wall. However, ‘into the grave’ is far more than just your usual affectionate homage to the genre. By developing upon the multifaceted elements of metal that the five musicians who make up the band love best, Gravety have crafted an album that is fresh, exciting and actually rather different than the many other releases out there vying for your attention. As such, this excellent album must surely come to the head of the pile when judging which release to spend your heard-earned cash on next and if a single metal voice screams in your soul then you will not regret tracking down this fine release. Where gravety will go from here is anybody’s guess, but at this juncture they have made a fine album that can stand proud and tall with the albums that provided its inspiration. This is a metal juggernaut and comes thoroughly recommended.   

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