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Graveyard > The Altar of Sculpted Skulls > Reviews > jimstayahead1
Graveyard - The Altar of Sculpted Skulls

Graveyard - The Altar of Sculpted Skulls - 80%

jimstayahead1, July 21st, 2012

The title track starts things off, with a wall of intense death metal riffs and low-pitched growls. The drums can be heard deep in the mix and occasionally Graveyard breaks out with semi-melodic guitar amongst it all.

The sound here is thick and drenched in low guitar feedback and semi-sludge riffs towards the middle of the track, which leads into an awesome, wailing guitar solo.

The second half of the song is a glorious gallop of twin guitar and thrashing drums. Bassist/Vocalist Julkarn barks out his lyrics over the top. It's all over really quickly! An Epitaph Written in Blood begins with a prolonged intro of great guitar harmonies and a mid-paced attack from the rhythm section, before the song takes flight nearly two minutes in. It's very different to the opener though, with a more sinister feel to it. Another great solo is heard amongst the noise and the realisation hits that Graveyard are heavily influenced by the halcyon days of death metal!

You wouldn't think a country as sunny as Spain could produce something this dark, but then the world is a different place now. Deathcrowned hits you from the off, with another old-school death salvo. The rhythms here are harder to pin down and it sees Graveyard flexing their musical muscles a little more. It's a headbangers paradise, with a dirty and ravaging sound.

Cult Of The Shadows enters the fray with semi-middle eastern intro riffs before the noise level rises to 11 and those deeps riffs trade blows with some amazing lead work. This is an instrumental song, which helps to build on the atmosphere already created by Graveyard. Penultimate song Ritual is just that! It's fast and heavy, with intense layers and melodies. This has more of a blackened thrash aesthetic to it though. The way Graveyard switch from headbanging speed to slow, sludgy death is brilliant and the overall instrumentation is a joy to behold.

Last song Howl Of The Black Death is a mid-paced attack on the senses. Much like the rest of this EP, the music is drenched in noise and the volume is huge. The guitars are in harmony on this track and the vocals of Julkarn seem even more brutal. The production used here makes sense for this record. It's old school and authentic and makes the music sound more organic.

Overall, this is great record and one that will be lapped by death metal fans. The music within is skilfully presented and Graveyard show they are true to their influences and to themselves.