(EP, Seventh Rule Recordings, 2014)
As I have said many times in the past, I love splits and EPs, simply because the bands involved are urged to use the best songs without caring to satisfy the LP’s time duration requirements. In the case of splits, you are getting the best songs of two bands, so they are definitely worth the money. And let’s not forget that usually, most of such releases come in killer-looking vinyl formats, so it’s a win-win situation. This is exactly the case with the GRAVES AT SEA / SOURVEIN split EP that delivers half an hour of Doom/Sludge galore, so let’s dig deeper right away.
The release opens with GRAVES AT SEA, the youngest of the two bands that has been around for something more than a decade. If you are like me, unfamiliar with this band, then you will be amazed by the heaviness of the rhythm section of “Betting On Black” and then grin a little listening the rather screaming vocals. Yeah, the vocals have a strong bite and maybe can lead to a love or hate dilemma but the deeper you dive to the music of GRAVES AT SEA, the more you’ll realize the way they fit to this type of Sludge/Doom. The torturing (or tortured, if you may) way of singing goes hand-in-hand with the massive and distorted to the max bass-lines, pushing the heaviness off the charts. Contrary to the majority of Sludge releases, the music of GRAVES AT SEA have distinct melodies but require some time to show their true colors. In pretty much the same wavelength is “Confession” although a little bit faster to such extent that it will remind you of bands like MASTODON. The riff-driven part and the screaming vocals sounds awesome and I think this combination add an Epic layer here, especially during the “bless me Father for I have sinned” part.
SOURVEIN present three tracks on this EP and walk a more traditional Sludge/Doom path, so expect to get hearty doses of BLACK SABBATH-inspired riffs and ton-heavy rhythms in the vein of SAINT VITUS and/or PENTAGRAM. T-Roy’s harsh vocals with a pinch of Ozzy’s flatness combined with the vintage guitar solo in “Drifter” change the sound-surroundings from the suffocative atmosphere of GRAVE AT SEA. “Equinox” carries a 70s quality lurking in the guitar effects and pedals, while the riff-driven “Follow The Light” is paying its respect to the foundations of the US Doom Metal scene. Yeah, I am talking about the headbanging rhythm section built by the natural sounding drums and the dominating bass action. This is the beauty of this type of Doom; play simple but sound as heavy as possible, and please, crank the volume up when the bass takes the lead, being a short preamble to the guitar solo.
The icing on the cake is the awesome cover artwork that does not look like it was computer-produced, so getting this on vinyl is the only way to go. This EP is packed with 30 minutes of Sludge/Doom Metal and I bet you will find yourself listening at repeat mode. After all, the last SOURVEIN songs blend perfectly to the GRAVE AT SEA EP opener.
01. Betting On Black (GRAVES AT SEA)
02. Confession (GRAVES AT SEA)
03. Drifter (SOURVEIN)
04. Equinox (SOURVEIN)
05. Follow The Light (SOURVEIN)
GRAVES AT SEA:
Nathan Misterek - Vocals
Nick Phit - Guitar
Bryan Sours - Drums
Jeff McGarrity - Bass
T-Roy - Vocals, Guitar
Milk Man Jones - Drums
Devilneck - Guitar
Lou Tang - Bass