Feb 25, 2013
Second Grave – S/T EP ...
The vehicle of sin for these guys and gal is some flamboyant, sinfully burning hot, heavy doom metal. Second Grave are a very young band from Boston, Massachusetts (USA). They started playing in 2012 and released their remarkable debut self-titled Ep during August 2012. The quality of the release lead them to share the stage soon with some killer acts such as Witch Mountain, Castle, and Elder in the second part of the year. No surprise for quality: this “young” band includes experienced musicians from the fine US doom scene, and in particular from world-known bands, like Warhorse and Black Pyramid.
Skill and experience are coupled with some excellent taste in writing music and with the bonus addition of a special feature, i.e. the intense and fascinating vocal parts lead by guitarist Krista Van Guilder. Krista is one of the founders of legendary doom band Warhorse back in mid 90s. As reported in the web, the band stemmed from the interaction between drummer Chuck Ferreira (ex-Nodscene) and Krista (previously also in bands Lucubro and Obsidian Halo) and further involved guitarist Chris Drzal (from Obsidian Halo as well). After “hashing out song ideas and sowing the early seeds of rock”, Gein (Black Pyramid, ex-Gein and the Graverobbers) entered the crew on bass, and Second Grave was officially born. In the Second Grave EP there’s much to munch. The band’s filks called it EP but you’ll be pleasantly distracted from grey everyday life issues for 33 minutes. As it is typical in the doom genre, tracks are often substantial, 8-9 minutes-long, and introduced or separated by shorter tracks where the band might even stray from the dominant style and delight you with surprising atmospheric passages, like the gloomy intro in Through the Red Door or the delicate acoustic interlude in track Salvation located halfway through the album as starting a hypothetical side B of an LP version.
The other four songs are slabs of solid and palpitanting heavy metal lead by powerful riffage and enticing melodies ranging all the way between stoner/hard-rocking to epic and gruesome doomy. The songs are definitely catchy and highly melodic also thanks to Krista’s beautiful and seducing voice, but the richness in the composition, the architecture of the guitar/bass/drumming patterns and the continuous change in, let’s say, sonic perspective fill this album with originality and surprises. The most surprising of all tracks is probably the central suite bearing the Lovecraftian title of Mountains of Madness. How tricky is its main section opened by a yummi beating bass, and lead by the heavy rock/metal dynamics, hooking guitar solos and soulful chanting by Krista variably heard in the previous tracks. Krista’s voice is remarkably melodic and blues-oriented, normally not evoking images of a scary banshee. But the witch and her nasty pageants will pull their benevolent masks off right during the final part of this song, by plunging straight and suddenly into pure doom and gloom. There gruesome hissing screams and growls, reminiscent of Vanessa Nocera’s scary singing style in Wooden Stake, will reinforce the sinister, grotesque atmospheres evoked by the plodding heaviness of the “trve” Sabbathian riffs. This is the only moment in the album where the band delves into doom darkness as if they were taking off the lid of a mysterious buried crypt.
And this is probably also the way of recalling Krista’s days in Warhorse, like in the early demos where she was probably a bit heavier than in Second Grave. This band definitely enjoys to mould their own style starting from a solid classic base and enriching it with flair, taste and technical skill. But some features in the solid structure of Second Grave’s style suggest that this band is not at all “crystallized” yet and future releases may bring some more interesting and rewarding developments towards unpredictable sonic directions and, thus, cool surprises. Surely will hear more about Second Grave soon. As a matter of fact, year 2013 is going to be a fruitful year for this band. Second Grave is going to join Castle on their 2013 tour, then play with several other cool bands like Elder, Pilgrim, Gozu, Lord Fowl and so on. Moreover Second Grave have been invited to play in the Stoned Hand of Doom festival later in the year, and they have plans to release a split 12" vinyl at some point.
In view of what will come soon, enjoy the intensity of Second Grave’s debut, self-titled and proudly self-produced album. This can be streamed and got hold of as digital version via Bandcamp or else bought in solid form via the band’s website.
Words: Marilena Moroni
Bandcamp (Streaming and Purchase)
Tags: Second Grave