Review Summary: More crunch than a Crunch Bar, with fewer calories, too.
I wrote a soundoff for this EP back when it was released, referring to it as “Nails' successors”. While that was a bit of a cheeky comparison it wasn’t really without merit; while still less known, New Zealand’s Graves offer another example of modern punishing hardcore to their more popular American peers.
Clocking in at under twelve minutes, Graves’ 2015 record “Fides Ad Nauseam“ is nine tracks of near constant violence. Switching between throat-rending hardcore and face-pummeling grind, it’s essentially everything one could want out of this style of music; it’s mostly fast, brutal, and packs more explosive crunch than a mouthful of Pop Rocks.
While fairly by-the-books in its approach to aggressive punk for sure, “Fides Ad Nauseum’s” precision outweighs its rather rudimentary songcraft. Longest track “Suffer”, for example, might serve as the record’s “slow doomy song”, but its rather obligatory nature is outshined by how well the rest album flows toward and around its pounding rhythms.
Graves aren’t anything new or stylistically noteworthy. All they provide here is about twelve minutes of quality no-frills-no-filler d-beat-and-blast punk aggression with absolutely no surprises. The only thing surprising is how good their little EP is, which is the only thing that really matters anyway.