Album Review: Graveyard – The Altar of Sculpted Skulls

Graveyard [Spain]
The Altar of Sculpted Skulls
Doomentia Records (LP)/Pulverised Records (CD)
Death Metal

Despite their Spanish origins, Graveyard is the epitome in terms of displaying the influence of Swedish-styled death metal. Besides quoting influential Swedish death metal bands such as Entombed and Dismember as some of their major inspirations, the gory artwork also upholds that old-school creed nicely, completing the image that the band wants to portray to their audience.

The abrasive guitar tone and the chaotic riffs on opening title track The Altar of Sculpted Skulls leaves the listener with little time to react, and one instantly knows that this EP is going to be one hell of a ride, completed with the gruff vocals of Julkarn and the d-beat drumming style that so characterises Swedish death metal. On top of that, another pleasant surprise is the clearly audible bass of Julkarn, providing that ominous low end that creates an almost suffocating atmosphere throughout the entirety of the EP.

Right from the start, influences from such bands as Entombed can be heard, not only in the guitar tone but also in the grooves that are present in the riffs, though Graveyard takes a more extreme step through the incorporation of slower, doom-paced moments that allow the full impact of the heavy, chugging riffs to crush upon the listener. The intro riffs to An Epitaph Written in Blood also brings about some haunting moments despite its melodic quality, helping to create a high-strung tension in the air before finally letting all crash down after hitting the climax, though this as well takes a slightly slower, heavier and more doomy approach compared to other Swedish death metal bands such as Entrails and this continues for the most part of the album.

The band also took a unique step of including an instrumental track in the form of Cult of the Shadows in this already-extremely short release, but there is nothing to complain here as the track is a good display of the individual band members’ abilities as musicians, and it is also here where guitarists SBE and Bastard get to show their individual influences. Included on the EP as well are 2 re-recorded tracks, which lean more toward a slightly faster and more reckless style, and displays the growth of the band as songwriters since their early days. With the rapid churning out of Swedish death metal albums, the market has started to get saturated, but Graveyard‘s The Altar of Sculpted Skulls has restored some faith in this musical style once more.

Graveyard on the internet:
Official website
Doomentia Records
Pulverised Records

©2012 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

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