Graveir "Cenotaph" LP


It’s worth noting straight off the bat that Brisbane is fucking hot. A hot, gross, humid place. We’re not talking Alice Springs hot (centre of AU, deserts basically), but It’s hot enough that you might wonder why anyone would do anything at all for half the year, let alone play Black Metal in an airless room/tin roof shed. Regarding Battles In The North you’re thinking frost, gale winds, fog and Abbath’s unzipped fly on a mountaintop. Instead our North-East is equal parts elderly, leather-skinned, conservative party fuckheads, and shirtless beach bro Californian stereotypes. It’s also the part of the country that gave us Grave Upheaval, Astriaal, Spire, Impetuous Ritual, Ill Omen, and Portal.
Graveir are another one of a handful of bands to emerge from the Sunshine State that absolutely transcend the misfortune geography. Formed in 2014 and featuring two former members of Moon (yet another Brisbane triumph), Iconostasis immediately put them on my radar when it was released in 2016. A strong entrant to the bleak, melodic Black Metal cabal we seem to have developed in this country, but hinting at their true songwriting potential. The hints continued on a stellar split 7” with Mar Mortuum released mid-2017, and my appetite has been well and truly whet since. 2018 brings us Cenotaph and yet another big stride forward. From the first notes the sound is familiar, but taken. The mix is fundamentally identical to “Unyielding Vortices Of Suffering”: sharp and articulate guitars, clear bass, punching drums. This time around however, the vocals occupy far more sonic real estate. Desperate howling with an exaggerated booming reverb contrast starkly against the dryness of the drums and guitars to glue the lot together. There’s increased interplay between the hard-panned guitars, and the bass does not simply follow, but dictate melodic context. Drums beat obstinately as ever. - Toilet Ov Hell