Review Summary: Very so often does a band reinvent themselves THIS good.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Early Graves used to be known as Apiary which didn't make much of a wave. In fact, their album "Lost in Focus" was mostly confused for a Dillinger Escape Plan album. They barely toured and almost every single member quit the band having to constantly bring in new members. 1 year later, and no founding members, they decided that they were so different from Apiary that they changed their name to Early Graves. Most bands who take this action end up sounding exactly the way they did before, but does this apply to Early Graves? The answer is an easy NO! They sound FAR more polished, and more original here then they did on that Dillinger clone.
Early Graves has changed from technical metal to crust punk, with influences of grindcore, experimental, and death metal (not deathcore) easy to be heard. The lead singer Makh doesn't scream or growl he gives a very brutal bellow and yell throughout, which I can honestly say I haven't heard before this band. The guitars have a nice mixture of death metal and crust punk, indeed all you death metal fans will find something to enjoy as well as you...crust punkers?. The lyrics have that early punk "*** you" attitude which is something nice to compliment the heavy, and fast tone of this music. It should be noted that Today is the Day frontman Steve Austin produced this album and his influence can be heard.
The album opens up fast with "Ballistics" which is essentially a punk song. It grabs your attention and doesn't let go, the almost Slayer-esque guitar solo is also a nice touch. "Safety Net Acrobats" opens up with the same punk style you saw before, but then then shows more almost doomier side of this band, before having a breakdown that's especially worth mentioning. As it slows this fast band bent on destruction down to a dirty mid-tempo as the Makh screams with power "we're just waste of blood". This next song is pretty controversial "House ******" has the singer scream about the racism still in this world, but the lyrics are really captivating on this one with lines like "how dare you not worship our blue-eyed god" and "don't you wish your skin is white just like mine", it's really worth a listen as it's one of the most powerful songs on the entire album. "First Name: William" has a more Rotten Sound influence evident, and is a really powerful and energetic listen, but blazes past your ear real quick. "Rest" is an oddity, it's an almost acoustic mellow instrumental not hard to be seen on a Today is the Day album instead. "Last Name: Porter" comes in with doom influences heavy, the open riff sounds like one borrowed from a Pentagram song. Steve Austin delivers a surprisingly refreshing whispered vocal piece of this song adding nicely to the slow, dark tune of this track. "The Man in Black Fled Across the Desert" again comes back with the crust punk style, and even has an almost hardcore punk sound to it during the beginning, and no that's not Steve Austin adding vocals on this song too, that's the guitarist, speaking of which there's a really nice fast paced riff that any metalhead would be glad to listen to. "Ghosts Among Us" comes back with doom metal in mind, the intro alone sounds dark, and slow. There's almost a southern sound to the song here to go along with the doom sound, but take no mistake this is a straight up doom metal song, the bass even kicks a funky apocalypse summoning groove here. "Borrowed Teeth Borrowed Claws" is actually the only song I'm not that enthusiastic about it lacks that certain oomph, or energy that was so apparent on every single other track. It doesn't slow the album down though, but it doesn't elevate it either, it doesn't want you to bang your head, it doesn't want to you to 2-step, it just wants you to listen, which is disappointing considering every other track was so full of spirit. "Here There Be Monsters" is a sample taken from some movie with a doom metal instrumental heard, it has an almost eerie tone to it, and sets the mood well. Especially as the singer adds in "we are what we are" as the guitars turn almost progressive."City of Angels (of Nothing at All)" comes back with full force of energy, spirit, and anger. All their influences are present the lead singer of Oxford even helps out and I gotta say these two bands should team up for a tour, cause they sound perfect together. Overall it's an ending so huge, it just leaves you wanting more.
Metal has been lacking this sort of energy. Punk has been lacking this sort of creativity. It's not hard seeing any fan of the two getting along and jamming out to this band. Fans of old thrash, hardcore punk, grime, grindcore, doom, experimental/progressive, all you guys will find something to enjoy with this release. Listen to it, I promise you won't regret it.
Truly original vocals
Surprisingly good lyrics
A nice blend of doom, death, thrash metal with crust and hardcore punk
Tons of energy
Not one bad track
Borrowed Teeth Borrowed Claws doesn't live up to the rest of the album's example