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Graveyard: The Altar of Sculpted Skulls

Not to be confused with the Swedish blues-enthused band of the same name, Spain's Graveyard deal purely in death metal. There's not one iota of the type of "feel" that blues bands and blues-doting aficionados have kidnapped for themselves here, and no mistake (erm… guv'nor?). Yes, there's emotion, but the unadulterated death metal rage that runs like a river of toxic waste polluted with septic blood and rusty nails through this EP may not be palatable by long-haired hippies brandishing Strats played through beautifully reverberating Fender Twins and wailing about their bell-bottom blues. Nope, Spain's Graveyard has chosen the right name for their band and every 'orrible orifice from which their toxic tunes pour has been torn wide open, peered into and plundered for off-colour opals of evil. This is vicious, barbaric, primitive death metal played on rusted chainsaws and bashed out on boulders with sledgehammers. Had Robert Johnson heard this, he may well have turned right instead of left.

The title track is a bruising cavalcade of simple yet tearing riffs, wretched vocals, and disturbing time and feel changes. 'An Epitaph Written In Blood' opens with a discordant guitar melody beneath which hell opens up and moves the melodic into the harmony-laden riffs and the track gallops through its savage soundscape. 'Deathcrowned' is sheer brutality throughout, and the instrumental 'Cult of Shadows' evokes nightmarish images of psychological and physical torment with its slow, grinding chords and twisted lead work. With two tracks from earlier releases re-recorded, The Alter Of Sculpted Skulls is finished off with two equally mighty slabs of rabid intensity. However, that 'Ritual' has already been released three times (on their first demo in 2007, on their debut 2008 EP, and on their 2009 split with Terrorist) and 'Howl of the Black Death' once (on the aforementioned 2009 split with Terrorist) does make one wonder if they are just – albeit very good – fillers.

Graveyard may sound like the death metal of Entombed, Dismember and the like, but they are no mere copyists. They are worshippers. What lets this down is the addition of two tracks that have been doing the rounds for a while. Graveyard's first (and last) full length was 2009. If they're still relying on old material – though remarkable – to make up current releases, Graveyard should have left well alone and released the EP with just the four tracks that are, frankly, the kind of death metal that deserves its own release.

Track Listing:

  1. The Altar Of Sculpted Skulls
  2. An Epitaph Of Written Blood
  3. Deathcrowned
  4. Cult Of The Shadows
  5. Ritual
  6. Howl Of The Black Death

Added: March 28th 2012
Reviewer: Jason Guest
Related Link: Graveyard on Facebook
Hits: 2350
Language: english

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