Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
That opening stanza from Yeats‘ famous poem The Second Coming has sprung to this writer’s mind more than once over the last year, and came to mind again in thinking about the title of Graveslave‘s new album — No Center — and its title track, which we’re premiering today. But apart from what’s been happening all around us, the times have also had a way of hollowing people out, and it’s that aspect of existence that seems to be the song’s true focus.
photo by Trevor Sweeney
Graveslave‘s lead vocalist and lyricist Ashton George explains: “So with this song, I went with a bit more metaphor. The song basically revolves around the idea of looking inside yourself, finding nothing inside and, that being a kind of death.” As for the music in this title track, guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Roman Non told us: “Our sound has grown and changed a lot since we started as a band, and we wanted to drop a track that showcases all of these new elements”.
The song is indeed a rich and relentlessly dynamic mix of sounds and sensations, which underscores the progressive elements of Graveslave‘s brand of death metal. It’s also intense in different ways and highly memorable.
A gothic organ prelude creates a haunting and funereal mood, and that mood persists but becomes orders of magnitude more powerful when ferocious vocals, feverish chords, and punishing drum-blows arrive. It’s not long before the song becomes a scathing spasm of blistering drums, scorching screams, and riffs that writhe and jolt. The spasm subsides, but shrill, dissonant notes and terrorizing howls create a feeling of derangement and despair. The guitars flicker and seethe, burrowing into your head, and then a spiraling fret-melting solo sends the song to riveting new heights.
But the song descends into darkness again, even though the drum fills eject electrifying fusillades — and the cornucopia of experiences doesn’t end there. The next guitar solo is wraithlike and mesmerizing, and that’s followed by the surprise of ethereal harmonized singing that’s even more entrancing, though as haunting in its own way as the organ prelude that begins the song.
This band from the Minnesota Twin Cities have been active since 2014, with a collection of singles and EPs, and one previous album, 2017’s Sick/Nasty, which we premiered and reviewed here. In addition to Ashton George and Roman Non, Graveslave‘s line-up includes Fernando Landaverde (Guitar), Josh Burke (Bass), and Ben Plaguerness (Drums).
The new album is set for release on July 30th via TRVASFUK Music. The terrific artwork was made by one of our favorites, Adam Burke. Below you’ll find links for pre-saving and pre-ordering it, and you’ll also find the video for “Spectral Procession”, which premiered at Decibel earlier this month, and the stream of a second previously released song, “Bird In Hand”.