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Graveworm: (N)Utopia

The seventh album from South Tyrolia's Graveworm, (N)Utopia, is a strong concoction of death, black, and gothic metal that overall plays it pretty safe and predictable but is still highly enjoyable. You always hear lots of comparisons to Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir when it come to Graveworm, but honestly I just don't get the connection. Hypocrisy might be a better overall comparison when talking about this band, as they never really seem to go full tilt into the black metal or death metal camp, but have elements of both. There's plenty of atmospheric keyboards here from the lovely Sabine Mair, and the double crunch from guitarists Lukas Flarer and Eric Righi pound away mercilessly but never get too technical. The drum patterns from Moritz Neuner however are expertly laid down and add a nice amount of technicality to these songs. Ultimately though it's the vocals of Stefano Fioro who gives Graveworm their sound, as he alternates between low death metal grunts and high pitched black metal screams within the confines of almost each tune. At first, this comes across as somewhat of a distraction, as just as you get used to him singing a certain way he lurches off into another direction. "Timeless" is a perfect example of this, as the song starts off as a dark gothic number with almost Type O Negative type vocals, before it becomes a raging black metal fest complete with symphonic keyboards and blistering guitars. After a few listens, the style of the band becomes less jarring and actually is quite appealing. In fact, the second half of the CD is where things really pick up, with the rampaging and progressive "Outside Down", the keyboard drenched instrumental "Deep Inside", and the epic sounding "MCMXCII".

Overall, there's nothing truly groundbreaking here, but it's so well executed that it's hard not to really like this CD. The production is great, the songs are damn heavy, there's lots of atmospheric stuff, and the lyrics are pretty chilling fare. So if you love modern day symphonic black metal with a mix of crushing death metal and goth thrown in, give this a try.

Track List
1) I-The Machine
2) (N)Utopia
3) Hateful Design
4) Never Enough
5) Timeless
6) Which Way
7) Deep Inside
8) Outside Down

Added: November 7th 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Graveworm Website
Hits: 98
Language: english

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Graveworm: (N)Utopia
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-11-07 01:10:29
My Score:

Here is another album from Metal Mind Productions continuing with their rereleases of the Italian black metaller's Graveworm. Originally released in 2005, (N)Utopia was the follow up to Engraved In Black which I will review soon. Well, (N)Utopia does carry on in the same trradition of that album as the band continues its symphonic black metal assault with more atmospheric moments where the band gives the listener a chance to recover from the onslaught of double bass drums and head pounding riffage. There is still a gothic edge to much of their sound, especially in the symphonic keyboards. Like the album before it's the vocals that still gives me issues. I will say I prefer Stephano Fiori's growls over his harsh screams.

Although the album didn't blow me away there are some decent tracks here. Examples include the majestic "The Machine", a mixture of gothic and black metal; the title track with its slower tempo and symphonic keyboards; the mood laden "Timeless" where the emphasis is on atmosphere and melody rather than brutality and the short instrumental "Deep Inside" where vocals are left aside in favour of moody keyboards and eerie effects.

My issues with the vocals aside, this is another decent sounding symphonic black metal album with some good melodies and interesting guitar riffs. If you are into heavier sounds and enjoy a good dosage of keyboards as well, these hard rocking Italians may be the band for you.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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