Tuesday, September 25, 2018
GIK Acoustics - Europe
GIK Acoustics - Europe
The Moshville Times

Album Review: Gravehill – The Unchaste, the Profane and the Wicked

What is it about the balmy climes of Southern California that has spawned so many good death metal bands over the years? Gravehill are arguably one of the picks of the current crop and their old school blend of death, thrash and black metal has garnered them a healthy underground following over recent years. The Unchaste, the Profane & the Wicked is the band’s fourth full length release since 2014’s acclaimed Death Curse and the first with Corpse taking over vocal duties from Abominator. The band have also welcomed back former, and ex-Exhumed, guitarist Bodybag Bob (gotta love these charming old school monikers!) back into the fold.

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As the needle hits the groove, the first thing that you experience is the gloriously warm, heavy and crunching guitar tone which takes you back to the halcyon death metal days of the early 90s. It’s like welcoming back a long lost friend from the bleak wilderness…

The album goes on to deliver eight gloriously titled tracks full of mid-tempo old school, catchy death metal. Short and punchy second track “Iron & Sulphur” begins with a classic Celtic Frost inspired riff and contains a breakdown mid-way so infectious it will have any self-respecting death/thrash fan punching the air in hysteric abandon. “The Unchaste” and “The Profane” both continue in a similar vein with the latter a particular highlight with its rampaging and rollicking main riff which again perfectly showcases the band’s ability to hook the listener. It’s not all mid-tempo though and Gravehill mix things up particularly on track four, black infused thrasher “The Plague Hammer” which is sure to be a pit starter in the live environment, and final track “D.I.E” which has shades of doom laden groove a la a youthful Cathedral.

There’s heavy doses of nostalgia woven throughout the record from the mid-tempo Celtic Frost inspired grooves to the classic approach from new vocalist Corpse whose inteligible and rhythmic vocal attack adds another layer to the songs, to the Slayer-esque shredding of guitarists Hell Messiah and Eldhelm. However, given the quality of the song craft and the musicianship on show, twinned with an excellent production which really elevates all of those classic elements (that guitar tone…!), The Unchaste, the Profane & the Wicked is far from just a trip down memory lane and should be as relevant as ever.

In an era where extremity seems to be a marker of prowess, if not listenability, Gravehill are a real tonic, from the classic satanic cover art to the musical gems inside. Yes it might not be the most original but who cares when the music is this good? If you love your death and thrash metal and crave those halcyon days you simply have to listen to this album. If you don’t, well that then begs another question…

The Unchaste, the Profane & the Wicked is out 16 March through Dark Descent Records.

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