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Album Review: TBA

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Album Review: The Graviators – Evil Deeds (Napalm Records)

Sweden’s trickle of 70′s revivalists is rapidily becoming a flood, as following fast in the footsteps of bands like Witchcraft, Graveyard and Burning Saviours come more worshippers like Horisont and, voilà, The Graviators. Described in their PR flyer as coming from “deep in the woods”, it is no surprise to hear their music sounding so angry, nay, feral; more-stripped down than several of their blues-loving forbears. If Graveyard were, say, the bleary-eyed bongheads of this expanding retro scene, then The Graviators would be the wide-awake tearaways spray-painting Pentagram and Black Sabbath symbols onto buildings.

Take the 2:43 of “Morning Star”. It’s a rip-roarin’ blazing rocker of a track, slicked with Johan Holm’s gnarly basslines, Martin Fairbanks’ thick, fuzz-covered riffing and Niklas Sjöberg’s scowling vocal that rises up and up, ending in a howling falsetto. At other times, during say “Feelin’ Low”, they seem impelled to explore the more Sabbathian realms of old school doom. They linger upon each note to turn the pace into a lollop. They reach a depth and breadth of undertow that begins to congeal around you leaving you mired (by the album’s end, naturally) in the Saint Vitus-worshipping sedentary plod that “The Infidel” becomes. It forms the quicksand that has secreted itself around your legs, slurping and burping all around.

Whilst there’s little new to be found in tracks like “A Different Moon” and “Häxagram”, there are other highlights to be found. Check out the form of “The Great Depression” with its rising-and-falling, walked riff and undercurrent of blues, and “Evil Deeds” which flits about whilst remaining leashed to it’s repeating chorus like a paranoid-afflicted, ADD-sufferer. Oh, and do keep an ear pinned back for the glorious little touches of Hammond organ and Wurlitzer piano (like those in the otherwise overwrought “Presence”) as supplied by Petrus Fredestad.

The one snag in the music (that irksome devil which threatens to stick his trident in their balloon) is Sjöberg’s insipid, reed-thin, chicken-squawk of a vocal which works in direct opposition to the fat licks that surround it. It is the equivalent of pitting a featherweight boxer up against three sumo wrestlers – he’s going to make a hell of a racket while the big boys trundle about after him, but that poor sod is eventually going home in a fucking ambulance. Put it this way, if you liked their debut album and haven’t grown weary of Sjöberg’s output by the close of this follow-up album, then you never will; in which case, I salute you.

Also online (with extras) @ Ave Noctum = http://www.avenoctum.com/2012/09/the-graviators-evil-deeds-napalm-records/
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