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Graveyard: Innocence & Decadence

Sweden's Graveyard are sure to puzzle some of their loyal followers with their latest Nuclear Blast release Innocence & Decadence, as the retro rockers look to further distance themselves from doom metal and dive even deeper into '70s hard rock, R&B, blues, and soul. One thing that has always stuck out about this band has been their penchant for dropping in catchy melodies & hooks into any style they might be playing, and that aspect is even more present here on their new album.

Opener "Magnetic Shunk" (whatever that means) is trademark, hard rocking & bluesy Graveyard, with Joakin Nilsson's silky vocals soaring over frantic riffs and driving rhythms. "The Apple & The Tree" has a rootsy element mixed with some blues and psychedelia, but it's catchy as all hell, filled with emotional vocals and slashing guitar leads, while "Exit 97" brings to mind vintage Free, a slow, menacing, and dark blues piece with no shortage of sizzling guitar from Nilsson and Jonathan Ramm, powerful vocals, and ominous Hammond organ. The band ups the tempo for the hard rocking "Never Theirs to Sell", and go for a Dire Straits-meets-The Doors sound on the mid paced rocker "Can't Walk Out". The real surprise on the album however is "Too Much is Not Enough", a soulful ballad that sees the bands love of blues & R&B come to the forefront, with female backing vocals and organ added to enrich the sound. Something like this would easily fit in on a Joe Bonamassa or Beth Hart album. "From a Hole in the Wall" sounds straight out of 1968 San Francisco styled psychedelia, as does "Cause & Defect" to an extent, but with some garage rock fuzz and Nillson's Jim Morrison influenced vocal delivery. Speaking of fuzz, there's plenty of it on the raucous "Hard-Headed", probably the closest the band have come here on Innocence & Decadence to the sound of their first two albums, complete with nasty guitar licks and rumbling rhythms, and "Far Too Close" is a straight, mournful blues number that features a passionate vocal and yearning guitar solos. The mellow "Stay For a Song" closes out the album, with just Nilsson's emotional vocals and sparse instrumentation ending things on a somber note, but if you get the US version there is a rumbling, tumbling blues rocker as a bonus track, titled "The Hatch", which easily fits in with the vibe of the rest of the album.

Though it's possible that Innocence & Decadence might polarize some fans, you can really hear the band maturing right in front our eyes. No doubt this style of music is near and dear to the members of the band, so I think we can expect material in this bluesier direction going forward and less 'metal' , but time will certainly tell. In the meantime, I applaud this bold, and thoroughly satisfying direction from one of Sweden's best.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1) Magnetic Shunk
2) The Apple & the Tree
3) Exit 97
4) Never Theirs to Sell
5) Can't Walk Out
6) Too Much is Not Enough
7) From a Hole in the Wall
8) Cause & Defect
9) Hard-Headed
10) Far Too Close
11) Stay For a Song
12) The Hatch

Added: October 7th 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1658
Language: english

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