Grave Upheaval
Untitled


2.5
average

Review

by Jacquibim CONTRIBUTOR (45 Reviews)
October 7th, 2013 | 74 replies | 2,511 views


Release Date: 09/18/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Maximum Overmurk

Even in a genre that hinges on extremes, it is important to have a sense of self awareness and boundaries. We're led to believe there’s no greater example of the molestation of the death metal archetype than tech-death, where many bands use complexity not as a means but an end, forgoing artistic credibility and descending into gimmickry. The new wave of old school death metal and the more recent blackened-death development (affectionately dubbed as “caverncore”) has done well in reiterating that death metal can be effective without being ostentatious. However, there are always two sides to the coin, and even death metal’s latest foray into the elite isn’t impervious to criticism. Utilising “murk” to the point where it consumes a band’s artistic vision is no more excusable than senseless “wank”, which is where Grave Upheaval’s debut full-length falters.

Grave Upheaval’s untitled debut is adorned with some of the thickest, murkiest, most opaque production ever bestowed upon a death metal record. However, as opposed to crafting any kind of tangible atmosphere or hiding subtle tonal and textural shades, the initially impenetrable wall of noise only masquerades as a cloak for something not quite as interesting as it wants you to think it is. For over 40 minutes, tremolo picked guitars surge like an earthquake over muffled drums, which are sporadically complimented by highly reverberant shrieks. At first, the album comes across as quite fascinating, drawing you in as you attempt to unearth its minutiae. But after repeated listens, you can’t help but feel underwhelmed. Apart from the monolithic closer, which uses incremental tempo shifts to craft something rather climactic, the other six tracks plod along aimlessly, relying on the opacity of the production to sheath their uninteresting arrangements. Most of the tracks delve into slower, doomier sections, which ultimately save the album from being reduced to monotonous trite. These slower sections allow the production to work its magic as intended, pulverising the listener by virtue of its sheer “heaviness”. The complacent and predictable manner in which these sections are implemented however, render them ineffective as song-writing tools. The complete absence of any build-and-release mechanisms suffocates the tracks one after the other, as the songs don’t contain enough substance to capitalise on their hellish sound scapes. As a result, the tracks bleed into each other, thanks to their glaring similarities not only aesthetically, but structurally.

This obviously isn’t the first indication of “caverncore’s” fallibility; nothing is more frustrating than slews of Golgotha clones. But it is a glaring reminder that like anything, deliberate underproduction can and will be employed to a fault on occasion. Grave Upheaval’s debut doesn’t come without its charms, but it pales in comparison to the sum of its parts. The lack of attention paid to song-writing and textural nuances in favour of uncompromising density proves to be its undoing, demonstrating that muddy sound engineering – just like technical flair – doesn’t compensate for a lack of integrity.



Recent reviews by this author
Impetuous Ritual Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical AmbivalenceHowls of Ebb Vigils of the 3rd Eye
Symptom Caverns Of KatabasisTrvth Purging
Carnifex Die Without HopeUlcerate Everything Is Fire
user ratings (7)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
October 7th 2013



11399 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I think this is my shortest review yet, hope you all like it anyways.

Criticisms welcome.

Digging: Howls of Ebb - Vigils of the 3rd Eye

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 7th 2013



5612 Comments


Album stream: http://nuclearwarnowproductions.bandcamp.com/album/no-title

Will read asap.


Edit:

Very well written review, pos.

Digging: Mekong Delta - In A Mirror Darkly

Decayingmajesty
October 7th 2013



5394 Comments


Great review pos hard, gonna listen :]

Departures
October 7th 2013



862 Comments


is that a sports car as the album art or

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
October 7th 2013



11399 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I believe it's a tomb with an upside down cow skull on top of it.

BigPleb
October 7th 2013



28537 Comments


Going for dat contrib hard.

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
October 7th 2013



11399 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

My whole life depends on it!

YUJOS
October 7th 2013



890 Comments


Very good review man!

Digging: Aosoth - Ashes of Angels

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
October 7th 2013



11399 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Thanks Yujos, what you been up to?

BigPleb
October 7th 2013



28537 Comments


ily

YUJOS
October 7th 2013



890 Comments


Same ol' bullshit man. I think i need again vacations...

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
October 7th 2013



11399 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Vacations, I've heard of those.

I feel your pain lol

BigPleb
October 7th 2013



28537 Comments


Is it too late to jam? :'(

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
October 7th 2013



11399 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, gonna hit the hay soon.

BigPleb
October 7th 2013



28537 Comments


Noo but no pls, I mean I can't :'(

Judio!
October 7th 2013



3130 Comments


Extremely well-written review, pos. Even in your shortest review, you still definitely get the point across.

Digging: Brand New - Deja Entendu

Relinquished
October 7th 2013



22378 Comments


edited album info

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
October 7th 2013



17343 Comments


yeah this album sucks hard

Digging: Monolake - Interstate

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
October 7th 2013



4190 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

3% red 3% purple

Digging: Echo Lane Afterschool Inc. - bikes clouds cranes phones

ericu03
October 7th 2013



140 Comments


well-written, posd.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy