If you’re sick of Incantation
and bands that sound like them, stop reading.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s concentrate on Grave Ritual. As you may have guessed, they’re nothing new. In fact, Grave Ritual seem to be going out of their way to sound twenty years older than they actually are. But then what makes them stand out? Other than the fact they play an infectious and seriously destructive style of death metal really well, this young band appears to have the experience of the last twenty years in death metal exuding from their work.
Last year the American group put out a demo tape which singlehandedly created an enormous amount of hype for their full length. It contained three tracks of punishing death metal that merely combined the styles of early Incantation with the later, clear-cut style that McEntee and co. established. There is a huge ‘old-school’ vibe to Grave Ritual, as seen in the way they play but more so in the production value – the riffs and general mix are dirty and fuzzy, sitting in the middle ground between, say, Vasaeleth
’s filthy buzz and Father Befouled
’s lurching crawl.
What really puts an edge on Grave Ritual is the passion and zeal that can be heard in their music – Euphoric Hymns...
is a fresh and vibrant constituent of a stale genre. Every track is rendered visceral and absorbing through the energy of the riffs and their articulate composition. On the surface, the record might not mean much to the listener, but Euphoric Hymns...
unfolds with repeated plays in a way that many great records have previously done (Graves of the Archangels
, All Idols Fall Before the Hammer
). There is a certain something in these riffs that make them irreligiously good, leading the listener back time and time again.
If you’re a fan of Incantation or the so called resurgence of ‘old-school death metal’, then Euphoric Hymns...
is an album you definitely need to pick up. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that Dark Descent Records are one of the best labels in underground metal at the moment, and Grave Ritual (amongst other things) is evidence towards this view. I took my time in addressing this album (2010 is old news now), but if you’re keen on going back and visiting the good ones you missed, Grave Ritual will not disappoint.