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Hey look it's still Gravewürm - 83%

Noktorn, October 13th, 2007

Another Gravewürm release and you know what to expect: more grooving, crunchy riffs, more rocky drumming, and yet more strict adherence to the oldschool styles of black/thrash. But there's other, more underrated elements as well: a bit more progression and complexity with every release, though it still is within its strictly defined aesthetic. The change isn't open at all. There are no complex time signatures of prog leanings. This is not a band that feels the need to prove anything to you. Gravewürm instead merely churns out releases of their patented style, progressing slowly but steadily on their own without any input from the outside world. It's a policy that many other bands would be smart to employ.

So if you've heard Gravewürm, you obviously are familiar with their style. Celtic Frost/Hellhammer worshipping black/thrash, mostly midpaced, with grooving, simple riffs churning away under screaming, shrieking vocals. Gravewürm manages to be heavier and more brutal than the vast majority of brutal death or grind bands simply by virtue of their writing: though the production is flat and the tuning is comparably high, the riffs are still heavier than most anything else out there. They're almost like Obituary in this respect, making music completely based around heavy riffs and abstract brutality. The general form of the music never changes for these guys, but the riffs become slightly more intricate and varied, the tempo changes more, and the rhythms move around significantly to keep things interesting. Gravewürm manages to keep things exciting throughout the entire album, even if it is a rather 'unexciting' form of music simply due to the familiarity of the style.

The production is a bit overly flat: the fidelity of the instruments is preserved, but a bigger punch of bass could be used. There are no filler riffs or filler songs, as usual, and each one is solid, though admittedly they are all pretty similar to each other. In this similarity is strength, though: Gravewürm is trying to put forward a singular sound, a core concept of audial art that is supposed to lay unadorned and mostly unvaried. Gravewürm is the nucleus of the old style of black/thrash: they're like a reference point that all other things build upon. It's an interesting style, especially if you haven't heard it before. At first you're somewhat distracted by how little is going on and how simple what's going on really is, but after a while, you get the general idea: it's supposed to be stripped down to its barest elements and devoid of all extraneous details. It's a noble goal.

As usual, Gravewürm appeals to those would love Gravewürm naturally. If you don't like primitive, midpaced black/thrash, you simply won't enjoy 'Into Battle' any more than any of Gravewürm's other releases. But those who enjoy it can mark it as another tally in the 'acquire soon' category, because the music is as strong as ever.