Appearing almost completely from thin air – and as if conjured from the very bowels of Satan’s own stinking guts – Greek death metallers Gravewards made a small but particularly intense impression with their 2017 demo Subconscious Lobotomy. Hot on the heels of that 4-track of stinking grind comes Ruinous Ensoulment, a full length debut which looks to continue their fearless assault with a sound that’s indefatigably death metal but somehow not easy to pigeonhole!
How can they be different we hear you cry? It’s fuckin’ death metal, we’ve heard it all before!
Well, the first thing you notice is that Gravewards are really fucking shouty. Like standing on the terraces at a Millwall match having a go at the referee (who probably is a wanker) kind of shouty. In fact, they’re obnoxiously shouty. What we’re getting at is that Nikos’ vocals sit uneasily in an unrecognisable not quite hardcore, not quite death metal no-man’s land. This does afford Gravewards a certain sense of individuality but these are vocals that sure do take some getting used to!
Vocals aside, Gravewards specialise in lengthy death metal ditty’s which offer groove, brutality, technicality and no end of widdly riffs and tempo changes. They go about their business with shocking efficiency and this approach should keep old-school death metallers happy while also enticing modern extremists into their fold.
Completely unpredictable, songs go through numerous phases as Gravewards utilise every trick in the extreme metal book to keep you on your toes. It’s hard to put a finger on Gravewards’ influences as they truly do forge forth with a sound of their own. Regardless, if 90’s death metal – and that decades penchant for wild experimentation – still tickles your testicles then Gravewards are a curiosity well worth checking out! 7/10
Ruinous Ensoulment will be available through international distribution channels on CD and digital platforms August 31, 2018 (and directly from Unspeakable Axe Records on July 27.