Australian Black Metal quintet Graveir deliver another dose of death, madness and decay, with their second full length, “King of the Silent World,” the follow up to 2016’s skin searing release “Iconostasis” and 2018’s EP “Cenotaph,” revealing how the line between humanity and monster is worryingly thin.
In comparison to those predecessors Graveir have steadily honed their sound to a much more accessible one, purists might not be happy but I rather like the slightly more melodic aspect and better production, it’s still a bleak, mournful and riff driven chunk of Black Metal but a much more compelling and atmospheric listen as a result and still manages to challenge your senses.
Firstly I’ll say this is a good album, bleak and haunting throughout, with many of the tracks ending on chunks of distorted noise which melds them to the next one making it feel like a desolate journey, the vocals have distant feel as they are set to the back of the sound, adding even more bleakness.
It’s slightly unfortunate that “Charnel Bacchanalia” opens the album, for me it is the best track and the jewel in the crown and because they throw their best offering at you first my repeated thoughts of subsequent pieces were, nice but not as good as the first with its haunting, tortured vocals (which actually is a very consistent and welcome feature across the album) it’s powerful driving riffs, hugely atmospheric and catchy as hell, it encompasses everything you, or at least I would want from a Black Metal track, ticking all the boxes for me, it’s utterly superb.
However. There are plenty of highlights across the other tracks, the short sharp and largely aggressive ‘‘Scaphism’’ gets the job done, it does ebb back to a more melodic sound midway and although the shortest piece, it’s still over three minutes duration. The others are all considerably lengthy offerings in comparison, all between the five and seven and a half minute duration.
“The Fetch of Crooked Spine” is bleak and doom tinged with a crushing intensity that smothers you, I do love the desolate melody that courses through like a dark undercurrent and comes to prominence midway through. On “Bathed in Acheron” the plodding deliberate drum pace and lighter jangling riffs adds a stark air of despair especially with the addition of those set to the back tortured vocals, all very underworldly.
“In Remnant Light” is again bleak and despair filled but with an addictive haunting melody that maintains a dominant stance, holding your attention. “Immacolata” has some great drum work in the first half, hypnotic pounding rhythms, interesting riff patterns and a welcome variance across its pace and “Waiting...” has an eerie repeat that draws you in.
“Fodder for the Gears” also caught my ear in a big way with it’s a bold plodding rhythm, compounded by the drum work which rises to prominence on several occasions and has interesting discordant guitar work. “Phantasms in Daguerreotype” has a fascinatingly odd and eerie opener but would be a bit flat if it wasn’t for the unusual staggered effect to the guitar work which manifests a few times pulling your attention back.
The final piece, “Father, Devourer” is wonderfully and surprisingly cold and piercing for a composition created in the baking heat of Brisbane, plenty of punch and passion to this monstrously long seven and a half minute closer which is much more convoluted and varied than it’s predecessor which was almost as long but nowhere near as attention grabbing.
“King of the Silent World” is out now on Impure Sounds.
Rating – 4/5