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The Death Wolves of Isengard - 87%

TheStormIRide, December 24th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Hells Headbangers Records

Doomed to Eternity is a celebration of sorts. Not only does Gravewürm's eleventh studio album celebrate the band's twenty-fifth year of dedication to playing old goat metal, it also celebrates the life of legendary drummer Jim Sadist, as his final studio recordings are represented here. Doomed to Eternity shows Gravewürm doing what Gravewürm has always done, although it's quite possibly the strongest effort of the band's long career.

The album features eleven tracks of black/death metal that worships the throne of the first wave. Doomed to Eternity is one of those albums that brings together black, death, thrash and doom into an amalgamation of all things heavy, effortlessly flowing from crushing, palm muted chord progressions to trudging dungeon dwelling dirges. Melodic lead guitar flourishes play sinister, haunting melodies like the funeral dirge of a chorus in "Bury My Coffin" while unabashed thrashing takes root on the verse of songs like "Soul Stalker". The music here covers a lot of ground, but every single note and chord blends together into a sound that oozes old school, primitive vibes.

Funeral Grave’s vocals are sinister snarls, sounding his most vicious yet; showing just how well his vocal chords have held up over the past quarter century. Don of the Dead guests by adding his own voracious growl at the opening of "The Wolves of Isengard". Gravewürm has been home to some talented musicians and guests over the years, but Doomed to Eternity has the band's strongest lineup to date, with Jim Sadist (listed as Lord Mazillion) and Von Sligow. The percussion is tight, ranging from frisky double kick patterns to full out blasting and the bass provides one hell of a backdrop for Fuenral Grave's riffs to take center stage. Again, these guys take a bit of black metal, death metal, doom metal and thrash metal and morph it into a writhing amalgamation of all things heavy.

Gravewürm has really been on upward swing in the last few years, as each successive album has gotten better by building upon the previous work and Doomed to Eternity is no exception. There's a reason that Gravewürm is considered one of the strongest and most reliable contenders in old goat metal. Fans of Goatlord, Nunslaughter and Sathanas will not want to miss this one. Jim's passing was a terrible loss to the metal community, but at least he went out with one of the heaviest and most primordial releases of the year. Certainly not for the faint of heart, but purveyors of the blackened, the foul and filthy will do well to add this to your collection.

Written for The Metal Observer.