Heavy gloomers Grave Lines are on their third album of genre crossing heavy noise making. Blending doom riffs with tinges of gothic and melodic experimental elements all the while tackling the ugliness of human existence. Communion sees the band bring 7 new tracks of epic proportions to pulverise many an ear drum.
From out of the squeal of feedback ‘Gordian’ emerges with a crushing doom riff and cymbal bashing as Jake Harding gives vent with angst ridden vocals. The track morphs into a more melodic phase with the band taking the foot of the pedal and laying down a repetitive guitar line over the thunderous drumming. The album then goes straight in to next track ‘Argyraphaga’ which filters in through the sonic mist with a cool rock riff that turns heavy and nasty on the chorus. The track descends into a heavy and more sinister
‘Lycaenid’ is a chilled track with the band showing a calmer side as the guitars gently probe through the gloom and Harding turns more crooner than his vocal attack on the previous tracks. Oliver Irongiant treats us some less is more guitar work dropping in and out with phrases and distorted chord bursts. They turn the heaviness up with a slow scorching riff as the drums go into overload. It’s tracks like this you get to appreciate the craft of songwriting and what the band put in.
With a swirling edgy drone and bile filled vocals ‘Tachinid’ is a manic sermon sitting as an interlude, a break in proceedings.
‘Carcini’ is an epic drawn out melodic doom masterclass. There is a destructive feel to the track descending into a chaotic dirge drawing the track to close with vocals spat in anger and a drummer content on destroying his drum kit. ‘Broodsac’ buzzes into life with a buzzing riff and quick stabs of vocal lines its a more consistent track that doesn’t deviate from the relentless pommeling from both Irongiant or Harding
A return of a spiritaul nature like the sermon vibe of ‘Tachinid’, ‘Sinensis’ starts with Harding’s pretty awesome cleaner sung vocals in a meditated manner as an acoustic guitar picks out a pagan melody. Irongiant steps up with a slow steady grinding riff with menacing quality. The track takes an epic turn as Harding’s brooding, deep, pleading vocals return over industrial screeching.
Communion is an album that demonstrates the band’s many strengths. On one hand, you have the low down dirty huge riff monsters like ‘Carcini’ and ‘Broodsac’ and on the other hand quieter more experimental tracks like ‘Lycaenid’ and the epic ‘Sinensis’. Its these tracks where the magic and the bands songwriting prowess really shines as they give the album an extra dimension.
Sam Chase and Stgrn’ Matt do a brilliant job keeping things heavy and driving the tracks along but also allowing Irongiant the space to create lay down some slick and fantastic sounding riffs. His perfect tone and use of distortion and other effects see riffs ringing like a bell when needed but really dig down in the murky doom quagmire when the track demands. On top of it all is Harding blending all out psychopath with some of the finest clean vocals in metal.
A masterclass in expanding and mixing genres to create something new and exciting, yet still rooted heavily in the ear drum destroying doom we have come to expect form one of the greats in the genre.
Check out the track Sinensis, below:
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Purchase the album here