Dead Congregation
Graves of the Archangels


4.5
superb

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
December 4th, 2008 | 374 replies | 25,490 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Don’t call this retro-death.

Dead Congregation’s Graves of the Archangels is a pretty cool album. Musically, it’s coming right out of the early-to-mid-90s American death metal scene, but there’s a catch: Dead Congregation is Greek, and Graves of the Archangels came out this past January.

If “Martyrdoom” is any indication of what's to come, and it is, listeners are immediately introduced to Dead Congregation's abso-fucking-lutely massive sound. Taking a page out of Dawn of Possession: 101, Dead Congregation employ a Berlin-wall of sound. “Martyrdom” is very much an introduction: it builds its strengths with an army of guitars and an overwhelmingly powerful line of percussion. It riles itself up, drags the listener in and then sludges itself down into a doom-y cessation. Of course it's temporary: “Hostis Humani Generis” is up next and it wastes no time. Featuring guitar interplay revolving around counter-points and tremolo picking, the track is aggressive from the get-go, blasting, smashing and demoniacally pummelling the listener into submission.

By this point you'll notice that the album lends itself to shoddy metaphors. You'll also probably notice a lack of bass. You also probably won't care: by this point, you're either completely enthralled or you're already back hailing the progressive wiener metal flavour of the week.

The title track starts off with an almost Gregorian sounding chant but just when it starts to grow a little tiresome Dead Congregation cuts it off (Deathspell Omega this is not) and continues onward into what is perhaps the album's most grandiose and melodic track. “Graves of the Archangels” sounds like a theme-song for a race into hell. It may come with the most strikingly melodic guitar lines but it's also one of the more demonic, apocalyptic sounding songs. Given the bands propensity for tritones, angular squeals and generally terrifying techniques, that's saying something.

Graves of the Archangels pulls absolutely no punches. As said, it's an absolutely massive sounding album. Lose your focus and the album quite literally turns to background noise. The guitars continually overlap into an ocean of riffs. They splash around and when one guitar isn't doing something the other is. Everything layers unto itself and make no mistakes that the intention hear is to deafen the listener in the most traditional of fashions. Of course some will take this as faulty production: the drums and guitars fade in and out of audibility and the bass is something you'll only hear clearly when the guitars secede into short bouts of feedback. It's produced with an atmospheric touch, one that's used more to overwhelm and suffocate the listener than it is to sound like complete shit. It ropes the listener in and clutches at their ears; it doesn't scare them away by sounding like it was recorded through a tin can phone in the deepest pits of their parents' garages.

Graves of the Archangels lends itself to lofty comparisons because it really is that good. These guys have channelled, alongside Satan himself, immediate comparisons to legendary acts like Demigod, Incantation, Deicide and most obviously Immolation. But it doesn't sound like they're lifting anything from these artists: instead they sound like one of their lost contemporaries. Graves of the Archangels is not only one of the best metal releases of the year, but quite possibly one of the best in recent memory.

Hail Satan.



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user ratings (166)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
December 4th 2008



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Started this review with a 4 in mind but I found myself leaning more and more to a higher rating as I kept writing. Truth be told, I started this review like three months ago but lost it on a hard-drive so I basically threw it together today upon recovering said hard drive just so it would have a write-up. It wouldn't surprise me to find a few typos so if you do, let me know.

Hail Satan.This Message Edited On 12.04.08

Bleak123
December 4th 2008



1902 Comments


hail satan indeed
will look into this, good review

Tyler
Emeritus
December 4th 2008



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I used the word itself a lot, review isn't that good.

rasputin
December 4th 2008



14516 Comments


Finally! Good review.

Tyler
Emeritus
December 4th 2008



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hah yeah, I swear I had it started but that hard drive crashed (or the operating system did) so I took forever to get it off of there.

rasputin
December 4th 2008



14516 Comments


yeah, at least it's done, now more people will finally listen to the album.

AngelPhoenix
December 4th 2008



2764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well at least your reviews are still good ;)
Will look into this mos def, but old-school brutal dm tends to scare me.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2008



16258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This sounds great, good review and I will definitely be looking into this considering I'm looking for more death metal.

BallsToTheWall
December 4th 2008



44164 Comments


Dead Congregation is silky smooth.

Tyler
Emeritus
December 4th 2008



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

who said it was "brutal"? It's pretty melodic, actually. Just really, really huge sounding. And really evil sounding.

Bleak123
December 4th 2008



1902 Comments


fear is the root of all evil

lol donnie darko was on tonight

BallsToTheWall
December 4th 2008



44164 Comments


I bought that, and still haven't watched it eyt. Album slays though, one of my top 5 death albums of the year, just behind Unleashed, Dismember, and Book Of Black Earth as my number 4.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2008



16258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Donnie Darko rules.

Doppelganger
December 4th 2008



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this has grown on me since I first got it

Tyler
Emeritus
December 4th 2008



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Balls your ordering is way off.

BallsToTheWall
December 4th 2008



44164 Comments


It generally is. This would be equal to Dismember but i'm an unabashed fanboy of Book Of Black Earth even though it's faults are noticable.

Tyler
Emeritus
December 4th 2008



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Never heard Book of Black Earth and not sure I care to, but this is definitely better than the new Dismember and I'm a huge Dismember fan. For me, this is the second best death metal release of the year.

Zoo
December 4th 2008



3759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Don't say Hornets of the Pogrom is first.

Phantom
December 4th 2008



8930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This sounds like its worth investigating. I shall do tomorrow.

BallsToTheWall
December 4th 2008



44164 Comments


BOBE have kind of a Entombed meets Doom and "Covenant-esque keyboards. Very groovy, very catchy and one of my favs of the year. The drums are too loud though.



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