Graven – Heirs Of Discord EP Review

Band: Graven
Album: Heirs Of Discord
Label:   Negative Grade Records
Genre:  Death Metal / Metalcore
Country: United States
Release Date: November 2nd, 2018

Extreme metal band Graven returns for their first EP in five years. This is an interesting one, all the songs on this little record are old, remastered material that the band had previously not released. The meat of the EP is five songs with a cover at the end, and it’s not half bad.

I’ll admit, I don’t really have a ton to say about this. I enjoyed it overall, so this review is by no means negative, but a lot of the stuff here didn’t leave a momentous impression on me. However, let’s start with the good. This record is bookended with two excellent Metalcore style tracks. The opener, A Failed Mask really gets my blood pumping with its various vocal styles and blistering speed. I actually think this is probably one of the better openers I’ve heard on a metal album this year. It’s a dynamic onslaught that really holds nothing back. The closer, Human is equally visceral. I don’t really hear a lot of covers in metal, but I think this one is great. It really closes the record on an equally violent note that I really appreciate. The drumming on this track is also absolutely nuts, some of the fills are Converge levels of blistering. It’s nice to have an album that starts and ends on highs. The second track I Dreamt You Were Dead is a solid Death Metal track. I think the vocals not being exclusively growls is a nice touch and the song does make nice use of some moshy riffs.  I also think that the production on this album is noteworthy. This is a very sharp record, there really aren’t any moments that I found to be sonically grating at all, it was polished, without losing any of what it was trying to do. Lastly, I like the lyrics on this thing quite a bit. They give the tracks a really gruesome edge and some of the imagery is quite frightening. This is particularly true on the track Backwards To Oblivion. I won’t spoil anything, but they truthfully are worth a read. I also think the fact that there’s a combination of vocal styles across this thing keeps it much more interesting than if it had defaulted to standard growls.

That about wraps up the things I found compelling. A lot of this EP just did nothing for me. The third song To Ravage and Absolve left no impression on me at all. It was pretty much a really standard Death Metal song, I came out of it not remembering a single thing I had just heard. The track Thieves Of Rotted Ilk is a bit of an issue for me. It’s a Death/Doom track that stands at over nine-minutes, and it’s pretty dull. It doesn’t really stagnate, but it really doesn’t present anything all that compelling either. While I do credit them for being experimental here, I don’t really think this track does anything substantive enough to justify its length. The song just feels kind of drawn out. I do however, enjoy the last minute or so, but I don’t find it rewarding enough to sit through the entire track. Backwards To Oblivion, aside from the lyrics, is okay. There are a few interesting musical moments, but it does just end up feeling like another standard Death Metal song at the end of the day.

Like I said, I enjoyed this record more than I didn’t. I think that it’s overall solid, but I can’t really see myself returning to anything past the introduction. This is probably worth a listen if you like a steadier Death Metal sound, because that’s what most of this is. I can’t really sing praise about this, but I think it’s overall fine.

Rating: 6.5/10

1. A Failed Mask
2. I Dreamt You Were Dead
3. To Ravage and Absolve
4. Thieves Of Rotted Ilk
5. Backwards To Oblivion
6. Human

Total Playing Time: 28:40

Click here to visit Graven’s Bandcamp!

Heirs Of Discord by Graven

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