Graves Over Autumn – Embershroud Sky

Graves Over Autumn plays a pretty capable American replication of the modern Gothenburg style. It’s more tolerable than most in that field because it eschews some of the most irritating ‘qualities’ that often plague melodeath; namely, the vocals aren’t gay, the riffing isn’t utterly saccharine, and the overall delivery isn’t as painfully dramatic as you’d expect from melodeath. There are metalcore influences, as there are with every melodic death metal band in the world these days, and yeah, they’re somewhat silly and unnecessary; you know, the ‘chug riff under winding lead guitar’ stuff like on the last track. Most of it, though, is pure, mid-to-fast melodeath in the mid-era Dark Tranquillity vein that’ll please fans of the style.

The five tracks on ‘Embershroud Sky’ are a familiar but enjoyable romp through melodeath convention played convincingly enough to be worth your time. The guitars seem to never stop harmonizing on the high Gothenburg riffs, which, unlike ‘The Gallery’-era Dark Tranquillity, are restrained enough to be effective. Unlike a lot of Gothenburg, Graves Of Autumn doesn’t feel the need to fill every moment with as many major-key notes as humanly possible. That’s always been one of my problems with melodeath: it’s like a competition to see who can be more overbearingly melodic. I can see the guys from Soilwork sitting around the campfire, making riffs on an acoustic guitar and slapping each other while screaming ‘NOT MELODIC ENOUGH’. In that vein, the metalcore influences are probably welcome; they add the requisite heaviness and simplicity that makes overly melodic music a bit heavier and more grounded in metal convention.

I guess the main way this release suffers is due to a lack of memorability; nothing particularly sticks out after the music ends, though when it’s going on there are interesting things to point out, like the bass-driven section in ‘The Wasteland And The Fog’ which adds some dynamic variation to the otherwise pretty steady music. I like that there’s blasting; in fact, more of it would be perfectly welcome, going for a speedier variety of melodic death metal rather than the slow double bass-driven form that dominates the scene these days. Anyway, Graves Over Autumn is a very young band, having begun only last year, so I have no doubt that they’ll be stepping up their music a bit in the releases to come. ‘Embershroud Sky’ is a good start from a solid band, and I have no doubt that we’ll be seeing more from them in the future.

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~ by noktorn on December 20, 2007.

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