Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Graveyard - The Altar Of Sculpted Skulls 
Churning out surprisingly heavy Swedish death metal from the depths of Spain, Graveyard are a four member band that have put out substantial quality in their latest EP “The Altar Of Sculpted Skulls." What you can expect on this record is worship (but not a straight-up rip off) to some of the Swedish death metal masters that knew how to do it right, and even some tribute to death metal bands like Funebrarum and such. Granted, these two styles can often be found backing each other up (not always), but Graveyard certainly know how to blend them together and release catchy yet evil and morbid old-school death metal. By mixing these two styles, they surpass so many other bands that are releasing sub-par and derivative material today.
The EP starts off right away with no use of a needless acoustic or ambient introduction as I find so many bands doing lately, and they beat the listener in the head with a massive sledgehammer of heavy death metal. The guitar tone will immediately appeal to those who are in need of a good ass-kicking death metal record, and “The Altar Of Sculpted Skulls” kicks off the EP with a nice blast of tremolo passages and chugging mosh grooves. Conversely to so many generic Swedish death metal bands today that are trying to imitate--and quite cheaply, at that--the style for which Sweden is renowned, they appropriate there music with far more interesting riffs than other bands have… which is not to say progressive wankery; rather, simplistic, heavy and flat-out crushing riffs, and I mean this all in the best way possible. There are few riffs that sound recycled, and between their jumbles of different riffs, there's great lead work. To expand on that, yes, there is lead work, to even my surprise. Whether it’s the more rock ’n’ roll-y solo on the first track or the catchy and eerie one on the next track, they alone definitely improve the quality of the music, brought about by high-pitched guitars and creative, memorable patterns.
While the rhythmic guitars are the highlight on this record, the vocalist also does a pretty good job of delivering quality death metal. He spews out low growls and grunts, grisly and bestial vomits along with the occasional shriek that agree perfectly with the crunchy and dense guitar tone. Graveyard is definitely a band to watch out for, and I eagerly await a new full-length after hearing this bastard of an EP. Equally fun as it is memorable, you’ll constantly find yourself bobbing your head to the catchy rhythms and headbangable mid-paced grooves that lie gruesomely in “The Altar Of Sculpted Skulls.” Hell, even the instrumental track on this record is fantastic, with its doomy sections and eerie passages. The only complaint I harbor is that it’s too short, but luckily, everything that lies in store for you on here is of good quality.