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The debut album of the American band 'Gravehuffer' continues where the previous band 'Krom' had left off and those familiar with the releases of both projects will be able to identify the similarities. First of all, each of fourteen tracks from the latter band first and only output have been used for this latest instalment. These appear, according to the band (slightly) remastered on Blasphemusic. As some might know, Joplin had been hit by a tornado in 2011, which left parts of the town in rubble. Also the band member of Krom had been affected and all the merchandise had been lost. This first release by Gravehuffer is therefore also an attempt to present the music to the audience again and a step to recover from the tragic event.
To be more precise:
New tracks: 1-4 & 18+19
Old tracks: 6-17 & 20
It is a nice way to start this CD. A bit of a humorous take on the state the band is from and helps to set the mood in the right way for the rest to come: with a sample from the movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales” in which Grandma Sarah puts Missouri in its place by declaring that anything from there has a taint about it. In case someone was ever wondering about Reality Impaired Records, Freakflag and all the other countless bands/labels from Joplin, then this explains it all neatly, succinctly and most certainly in a definite kind of way.
Those who might be interested in some nostalgia can dig up the 4th edition of this magazine and read the review that had been written on the Krom output. What had been written back then still holds today, because most of the tracks on the debut of 'Gravehuffer' have seen the light of day before – on the debut output of the preceding band and this new project continues on this path.
There is this S.O.D./M.O.D. touch, which find expression through the lyrics, the samples and in some respect also in the music itself. Krom and now Gravehuffer are no bands, whose concept wanders around too much and meanders off into the realm of progressiveness or technicality. It is all rather kept on the spot, intense and with a certain amount of aggressiveness. With a mixture between thrash metal, crust and grindcore the American deliver a quite interesting mixture of facets, which stands pretty true to what one might have in terms of the expectations. The emphasis is on metal and not on crust or on grindcore. Elements from these genre have been woven into the music, but they remain on a small level. Amebix, Doom, Warcollapse might point in the right direction and elements from D.R.I. or Municipal Waste as well, but the problem with Gravehuffer is their lack of the speed commonly used in the thrash scene as well as the absence of structures of punk or crust or grindcore. It is a bit of everything … with a good amount of humour. Music with a lot of groove and power as well as strange lyrics. Freakflag, another project of some of the band members, would be a sick sidekick, which does not have much to offer in terms of the lyrics, but has a similar attitude in terms on how to deal with topics and on how to present them; here though in doses of odd and confusing samples from various sources.
There are two cover version on this album and both are pretty sick. 'Commando' from 'The Ramones' does not come as a grindcore version, even though the first seconds might give the listener such an impression. Compared with the original though, this one is more sickish and has more power. The same can be said of Gravehuffer's interpretation of Celtic Frost's 'Into the Crypts of Rays'.
The output by Krom had been a lot of fun and was pretty enjoyable and the debut release of Gravehuffer takes it all a step further. With some additional compositions, well placed or chosen samples and an increase in aggressiveness they seem to be a path in the right direction; the new material works as a slight and more intense contrast to the older one. Music with a lot of punch can be experienced and enjoyed here, and the band never really leaves the listener much of a time to rest or catch some breathe.
An interview with Krom can be found in the 16th edition of the magazine:
Based on a review originally written for ‘A dead spot of light (Number 20)’: