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The best of the "newer" Graveland - 84%

PhantomMullet, November 14th, 2011

If you were to take every Graveland album within the past ten years and condense them into one album, you would probably get something pretty awesome. After all, long and militant metal tracks with pagan themes in the vein of Bathory will please many listeners. But instead we have 6-7 albums that all sound very similar in song writing and instrumentation, with minor differences between each one. Nevertheless, none of the albums individually are bad, but if you had to pick one to go with, and only one, Fire Chariot of Destruction might be the best choice.

Fire Chariot of Destruction (FCD) comes off as a lot more energetic than other Graveland releases that came out around the same time. Even the name suggests that the music contained within will be a lot more tremendous and heavy hitting. This is true from the beginning - the opening track "War Wolf" starts out with incredibly potent drumming - percussion that sounds like the marching theme of a pagan tribe about to raid a nearby village. Then the guitars and vocals kick in at full force with occasional chanting/choir interludes in between to break between the chaos. It's a very powerful sounding song that will not only shock, wake up anyone who might make habits of falling asleep while listening to Graveland's more boring songs that only lag.

Another example is "Flaming Wrathful Hate", a song you can't accuse Darken of for false advertising. It's a lot heavier, angrier and faster than songs on other recent Graveland albums. "River of Tears" shows a more atmospheric and emotional side, making use of the appropriate screams throughout and conveying a great sense of sorrow throughout. My favorite track may be "Motherland"...it starts off at a moderate pace, but slowly builds up as the drums accelerate. It has that regal feeling of slowly marching to the battlefield and then the chaotic charges that occur and remain until the song ends.

The bottom line is that Fire Chariot is still your standard Graveland album - long tracks, solid enough riffs, raspy growls, and funny Engrish (seriously, read some of the lyrics!), but because I feel like it has more meat, less fat, and some nice spices, it makes it a lot more memorable and a good start to anyone who wants to hear Graveland for the first time. Definitely give this one a chance.