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In-Graved - In-Graved

Victor Griffin's In-Graved - S/T - 50%

ThrashManiacAYD, March 24th, 2013

After over 30 years in the doom/hard rock game Victor Griffin is seemingly a contented man. He has handled axe duties with considerable aplomb for the legendary Pentagram through much of their sporadic career as well as his own acts Place Of Skulls, Death Row and now In-Graved, plus is well-known (within doom circles) for imbuing his Christian beliefs heavily into his music in a respectable and well-meaning fashion. Beyond all of this though is his tone in this release, which is the most relaxed and well-meaning I've ever heard in a doom album. Granted, the significant blues vibe in the likes of "Fading Flower", "Teacher" (a Jethro Tull cover) and "Love Song For The Dying" dilute the 'doom' edge while the up-tempo closing track "Never Surrender" could have come from the guitar of Bruce Springsteen but with that fabled tone he has always generated through the Pentagram days at the heart of this offering a doom rock record we can get away with calling it.

I'm not one to usually make much of a fuss over a Christian slant in the lyrics due to what I consider to be Christian 'attitudes' rarely finding their way into the very fibres of the music I enjoy, take Trouble for instance, but with "In-Graved" Griffin's positive world viewpoint shines through. In "Late For An Early Grave" (taken from a 2004 album of the same title released under the 'Victor Griffin' name) as he sings "I broke out of prison when I was 17/ Looking hard at the world I was feeling mean/ I tried to find the life I wanted out on the streets/ The way I chose it wasn't easy, infact it was obscene" you can practically hear the lifetime of experience and vision pour out in the spirit of personal rectitude. Feeling as much like atonement as a record to further his established cannon, the eight songs on offer as a result provide only a gentle examination of Griffin's ability to pen slow-mid tempo tracks that are likely to appeal to just the most blue-collared of old-school doom fans.

At times within "Digital Critic" and "Late For An Early Grave" Griffin and his cohorts in the making of this album pulsate with quality riffs that bear the hallmark of many of his classics from the Pentagram days but find their impact restricted by the cushioned production which removes the sharpest of angles from the delivery. And unlike Place of Skulls, whose "The Black Is Never Far" is a more solid album all-round, the naming of this project after the man has appeared to reduce the input from fellow bassist and drummer to the feel of session musician such is their reticence to step into the limelight. Save for muted organ work here and there this is very much the Victor Griffin show: all riffs, solos and vocals to leave the end result very much reliant on one's appreciation of him. That he has nothing to prove to doomsters doesn't stop this from being a flaccid affair in comparison to previous works.

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