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Tales of Blood - Stuffing the Graveyard - 93%

Edmund Sackbauer, November 8th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, Careless Records (Digipak)

Here we got another winner released by Russian extreme metal label Careless records. This time we are looking at a French old school death metal outfit that has been founded way back in 1993. However, it took them more than a quarter of a century to release their first full length album. I have no idea what is behind this story but as a fan of this style and French bands in general I am more than glad they finally put out “Stuffing the Graveyard”.

The guys have a feeling for good songwriting varying between furious speed attacks and slower, filthy parts that give the whole affair the required dark and brooding atmosphere. The guitarists Jean-Michel and Nyvainch complement each other with one providing the mostly crunchy and hypnotic main riffs and the other one fading in an out with some fantastic soloing work. Of course the boys want to show the world that they know how to play their instruments resulting in some pretty impressive technical pieces. Thankfully those sections never overstay their welcome. It is a bit of a problem these days that a lot of new bands try to compensate for their lacking songwriting abilities with additional speed, brutality and technicality. I am glad to report that this is not the case here.

Drummer Jerome and bass player Philoxera are building the rhythmical backbone for the riff attacks. Jerome always keeps things groovy with his tight and relaxed playing. There are some pieces where the tempo is upped and a few blast-beats are thrown in for good measure but overall the music stays in mid-tempo most of the time and never gets too chaotic or nervous. Overall bands like Bolt Thrower or Benediction will come to mind who had a similar style of groovy yet relentless mid-tempo death metal.

Singer Samuel has a perfect voice for that kind of stuff. His growling tone reminds a bit of Dave Ingram and Co and thanks to his great pronunciation and articulation each word can be perfectly understood. His style fits the instrumentation like a glove making sure that the album sounds very intense in its entirety.

The production shows the right mixture of being raw but punchy. There is just enough filth and putridity lending the music a certain level of dirt without sacrificing any details of the instruments. Often that kind of production leads to muddy sounds burying some elements but luckily this has not happened here.

To summarize your enjoyment of this record will depend on what you are looking for. You can call “Stuffing the Graveyard” pure plagiarism as there is nothing really new or innovative to be found here. If you are like me always searching for new music in the tradition of the nineties keeping the original spirit with a fresher sound chances are good that you will find a new favorite here.