Review Summary: Through The Eyes Of Valor do it again.
So after much waiting, Graves Of Valor's full-length came out this past summer. Goddamn is it a wonderful chunk of deathcore. Yes, there's some still bits of hardcore influence thrown in throughout... but now they seem to have gone towards the more brutal end of their spectrum. Basically, take Famine, and beef it up with a lot of Whitechapel influence, and two generic, but quick acoustic instrumentals. Don't worry, the epic melodic riffs we've grown to love Rich Turbville for are still there.
The album starts out with possibly one of GOV's most sinister and groovetacular riffs to date. Dayton's drumming is clean and quick as ever, and Damon's vocals are less layered before, and more unique sounding. After the intro bit is a pretty good thrash riff, which they actually work in really damn well. They definitely still have the sonic scape of a zombie holocaust going for them, which makes me quite happy. Best part of this song (the title track) is the end, featuring ANTHONY GUNNELLS, former Through The eyes Of The Dead vocalist screaming along with Damon as quite the elite duo. Into the next song, the album begins to follow more traditional TTEOTD/GOV fashion, lots of melodic riffs with lots of great breakdowns, only they're much thrashier now. Lyrically, the album still sticks a lot to anti-Christianity and famines, but they've also brought in the element of Roman history. The vast majority of the album is actually about the Visigoths sacking Rome, which is a pretty cool topic I must say.
Come the third song Pestilence, we have some more uncharacteristic groove riffs that the band didn't really showcase before, but they actually work quite well. The stop and go from groove to melodeath adds a good parallelism to the album that makes it fresh, not to say that it hasn't been done before, but the manner in which they go about it still has that distinct sound they've always had.
I'd say the highlights of this album are Salarian Gate, because it's groovy-thrashiness, and the addition of Anthony Gunnells on vocals, Pestilence, The Clever Ape (awesome song about Crucifixion with an immense breakdown at the end), Locusta (pretty much a better version of Failure In The Flesh by TTEOTD), and No Gods Left, a slow paced sludgy song that's completely different from everything these guys have done before.
From the beginning of No Gods Left I was thinking that Dayton's not very good at slow drums, but as the song progresses, he begins to do cooler stuff throughout the song. It's droney, but it's heavy as hell. It's definitely the perfect track to end this behemoth of an album with.