Gravewürm – Carnivorous Monarchy

Gravewürm is a band that will never truly change. That’s not to say that they can’t or won’t develop, though. As one can clearly tell on ‘Carnivorous Monarchy’, the band developed significantly from their music just a couple years previous. No longer is it as completely one-dimensional, with music chainsawed together through abrupt shifts in texture and mood; it’s now sleeker and more professional, but sacrifices none of the rawness and intensity that defines the band’s sound.

Okay, so Gravewürm is a Celtic Frost and Hellhammer worshipping band and they’ll be the first to tell you that. Their style of black/thrash is completely oldschool and isn’t ever going to go modern or technical. They have, however, gotten more complex as they’ve gone along. Not in instrumentation: it’s just as dead simple as ever, but in construction, variety, and elegance. The riffing, while still crunchy and chugging in the Frostian style, now uses a wider variety of rhythms and melodies, rather than the fairly one size fits all nature of some of the older ones. They’re generally more creative, with a harsher doom edge to the sound, which the improved production helps dramatically: the guitars are sharper and not nearly as muffled, and the fidelity of the vocals is better preserved. There’s a wider variety of notes and melodic styles, and while it’s all from the same general musical place, it’s more creative. Drums and vocals have remained the same: straightforward and powerful.

There’s a lot more in the way of rhythmic changes on this EP than on previous releases. Everything shifts more cleanly and more frequently, giving the songs a pronounced, organic groove that’s hard to replicate. The music is still as unfriendly and heavy as ever, though: the complexity hasn’t removed how straightforward an assault these tracks are. In fact, it’s only made it better: the warlike feel is maintained and dramatically accentuated by the newly varied style. I almost detect a little Operation Winter Mist feel from time to time: perhaps it’s the rockish drumming under the black metal riffs. Either way, it sounds great all the way through, with longer tracks allowing more development of the themes of the music and a bigger musical space to work with, unlike the previous two minute tracks which got their point across as quickly as possible and stopped. There’s more room to breathe, for both musician and audience.

All this talk of progression is pretty unrelated to your enjoyment of this EP, though: it’s still for the oldschool black/thrash enthusiast, and all the changes take place strictly within that aesthetic. For those who enjoy other Gravewürm, though, it’s a natural item to pick up. You could accuse the band of doing the same thing over and over again, but really, who gives a fuck? They do it better than just about anyone these days. If you dig the style, most certainly one to pick up soon.

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~ by noktorn on October 10, 2007.

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