Review Summary: Graveworm's transitional album where they shed a lot of their classical influence and replace it with the more aggressive nature of later albums.Graveworm
are a band that have never been content to release the same album twice, they’ve always changed things up just enough to make things interesting with every offering. On their debut album, they had a very similar sound to bands such as Crematory
before branching out to add classical instruments and more of a black metal approach on their second release. From there they slowly evolved further by shedding their classical influences and adding a more modern and aggressive feel to their songs. This, their third album, is the album where they transition from their older style on As Angels Reach the Beauty
to their more modern aggressive style on Engraved in Black
and future releases. The transitional nature of this album rests in the fact that their use of beautiful keyboard melodies and classical instruments is kept to a minimum, and in their place is a much faster and more aggressive musical styling.
The album starts off with an intro that could have been left off and no one would have even noticed; it doesn’t set the mood for the album at all, and just ends abruptly as well. The keyboards on the beginning of the first real track serve as a perfectly good intro all on their own. It starts off with choir sounding keyboards before breaking right in with both the black metal vocals and deep growls over an aggressive guitar riff. The beginning of this song wouldn’t have sounded out of place on their last album as it is played at a mid-pace, and maintains the melodies they were known for. It doesn’t take very long before their new more aggressive direction comes in, though, and the guitars take off with a fast melodic riff, played over some pounding drums. It continues to switch between the two styles for the duration of the song, finishing off with a good slow riff and one of the rare returns of the violins on this album.
At first it seems as if the next track, “Abandoned by Heaven”, will also be musically similar to the last album, but by the end it’s obviously not the case. The song is also played at a mid-pace but is fairly two-dimensional. It never really changes things up; it has a weak keyboard melody and suffers from a glaring lack of anything really going on. The following track, “Descending into Ethereal Mist” is the best song on the album and also does the best job of mixing the old with the new. It contains the great violin, guitar and keyboard melodies as well as the musical variation found in older releases, but also has the very aggressive parts of later albums mixed in as well. Of course, coming up later in the album is the song that most people know this band for; their cover of the Iron Maiden
track, “Fear of the Dark”, and with good reason, it is an excellent song.
“Fear of the Dark” starts off with the guitar melody that anyone who likes the original will instantly recognize, before Graveworm
takes that song and makes it their own by dropping into an extended part where just the violins are playing the melody from the original song. After that part they continue to make that song their own with black metal vocals, deep growls, and an increased speed over the original. The most surprising part comes near the middle of the song, though, when they do the guitar solos with violins and bagpipes; it really is one of the rare cover songs that actually does justice to the original.
The rest of the songs on this album follow the same basic formula of mixing their older more classical influences with their new more aggressive influences, which would take the lead on their later albums. For those into the more aggressive nature of Graveworm
’s later releases this could still be something you’d be into, as it is similar but with the final use of the classical instrumentation and increased emphasis on melody. Despite whether you’ve heard them or not, it is definitely a solid album within the genre of Black Metal and one fans probably wouldn’t be disappointed with. For people that are more into the melodic and or goth side of metal, this album would probably appeal to them as well.