Gravehill – Rites Of The Pentagram/Metal Of Death

Forget metalcore, forget tech-death, forget nu-metal, in fact forget every daft trend that happened in metal in the last twenty years. American underground cultists Gravehill are like a blast of foul air from that period in metal when hair was frizzy, jeans were tight and you were either metal or you weren’t!

This release is an immensely enjoyable and authentic slab of dark and grim metal, paying homage to an era when a lot of bands were just starting to explore the murky world of death metal. In fact, this is such an authentic sounding record that had it been recorded back in 1988 it might have been heralded a classic album.

Firstly, the production is perfect for this type of album – it is dark, biting, and sounds like it might have been recorded in a bat-infested cave. The guitars have that slightly mid-range, cutting and aggressive sound found all the great Dark Angel and early Slayer albums – you can almost smell the brimstone as it flies out of the speakers out you with murderous intent.

Secondly, Mike Abominator’s vocals are pure evil. Insane angry rants with grim, rasping vocals – he sounds like a resurrected corpse who’s just been dug up and is none too happy about it. To my mind its similar in style to Rogga from Merciless; every word is spat out with dark, bestial rage.

Musically, Gravehill have learnt their craft from the masters. I’m not just going to list a whole load of classic bands, but to give you some idea; you can hear the frenetic thrashings of classic Slayer, the twisted pounding of early Death, the obscure darkness of Celtic Frost and Venom...  and a whole lot more besides. Don’t mistake Gravehill for a second-rate copy of these bands though; they have some great song writing skills of their own and each song is a black, glistening gem in its own right. There are some awesomely morbid guitar solos, some absolutely stunning riffs, and the whole release is brimming with blackened thrashing mayhem. The re-released demo at the end of the album is essentially more of the same – the production is slightly better in my view, and the tracks have slightly more of an early death metal feel to them but all classic, grisly stuff.

Fans of true, cult death metal (especially fans of bands like Sadistic Intent) should definitely check out Gravehill and their dark delights.

1. Rites Of The Pentagram       
2. Decibel Ritual       
3. Bloodsoaked       
4. Pissing On Your Grave       
5. The Luciferian Mark       
6. By Scourge & Wrath       
7. A Celebration Of Wounds       
8. Reckoning (B.E.F.S.)       
9. One Million Dead & Counting       
10. A Promise Made In Heresy       
11. Purifier Of Flesh       
12. Ravager       
13. Murder       
14. Suicide
Ibex Moon Records
Reviewer: Jon
Dec 22, 2010

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