Jun 23, 2012
Graveflower - Returning to the Primary Source ...
At its best, the album is a brooding, emotional and it does carry a great deal of doom-metal depth but those positive moments can be a bit hard to find. Too often the songs seem disjointed and so unoriginal that it just seems like a tribute to MDB and a pure work of imitation. However, the album does have its inspired moments. One track where everything works is 'Falling Leaves' that has a great blend of Gothic doom, death-metal and even traditional doom metal chugging riffing.
This track is one of the albums epics at 11 minutes and while I was dreading sitting through it at first, it actually turned out to the albums best track. Because the album is a pick of the bands work over a 10 year period, the moods and feels change with every track so it ends up sounding like a compilation album so the album lacks cohesion. 'Falling Leaves' is the pick of the album for me personally because even though it does nothing but copy the My Dying Bride formula, it also has enough changes and mood swings to keep it interesting. That can't be said for a track like 'My Turn' which painfully crawls along with the same mournful vibe for what seems like forever. The sound is great and the playing is great but the song itself is death doom at its most clichéd and banal.
There are five long melodic dirges broken up by two instrumental pieces which don't really do anything to make this anymore memorable but I guess it all comes down to two things. One - how much do you like My Dying Bride and how much do like hearing bands basically repeating that formula. If the answer is a lot on both counts, this Graveflower release should satisfy death-doom fans. The only track that takes a slight detour from that formula is 'Autumn Within' which at least doesn't sound like the usual MDB worship but then again, it is still highly derivative of many other bands; Ophis is one band that comes to mind and as luck would have it they are another band on the Solitude Productions label. There is no questioning the skill level of the players in this Russian band but the songwriting seems like it could do with some fine-tuning. I have to give the band full points for musicianship but the songs on 'Returning to the Primary Source' are instantly forgettable with the exception of one track and even that one is nothing to get too excited about. Graveflower are a band that potentially could be amazing if they can develop some originality but seeing as it took almost 10 years for this album to appear, you wonder if they have that in them. I hope they do because despite not liking this album much, I am still eager to hear a lot more....5/10
Graveflower | Bandcamp
Words: Jack Sabbath