Graveyard - The Altar Of Sculpted Skulls

Spanish Old school death metallers Graveyard are at it again with their rotten filth, sludge and slime. When I see yet another release that features re-recordings, I fear that I will have to wait that bit longer for a follow up the their full album debut ‘One With The Dead’, even if the band still continue to exist on frequent EP and split releases.

Heading straight into action ‘The Altar Of Sculpted Skulls’ suitably entertains; the guitar sound is soul crushing, the tone, well, as you would expect. The variation of tempos also fits well, its crusty, low end and fitting. I do still have my reservations about the vocals, they are not as crisp as they could be, but it still doesn’t lose any quality in reality. Atmospherics come in a surprising format, I am intrigued by the intro the ‘An Epitaph Written In Blood’, and when the first chord is struck in combination with the bombastic drum hits, this is how you should start a track off. If this is not enough, I am once again humbled when the rhythm starts to transpire, this is groovy, infectious, and essential. The tempo increases, yep, this it is, this is where Graveyard have me hooked. The combination of running guitar licks, hammer-on’s with a deathly tone for good measure leaves a suitable smile on my cynical face. ‘Deathcrowned’ continues in a similar vein as the opener, straight into action, its an organic analogue sound, not an over processed pro-tools recording! The arrangements continue to have a similar theme, times changes, crushing groove, nasty vocal growls and howls, but ‘Deathcrowned’ has a massive bass boost suitable to piss off any non-believers with a near Bolt Thrower feel.

Recordings starting with ‘Ritual’ show that Graveyard were obsessed with speed in their formative years, there is nothing wrong with this, but with the first few tracks of this EP you hear progression from their mighty arsenal, and this is a very commendable facet. The final recording and EP closer ‘Howl of the Black Death’ is the ace in this 6-pack. I love the groove, the eerie chorus effect of the vocals, this is simplicity wonderfully executed and in its rotten purist form.

  1. The Altar Of Sculpted Skulls
  2. An Epitaph Written In Blood
  3. Deathcrowned
  4. Cult Of The Shadows (instrumental)
  5. Ritual (re-recorded)
  6. Howl Of The Black Death (re-recorded)