When you think “black metal,” Australia may not be the first place that comes to mind. But like that Snorlax album I reviewed earlier this year, the land Down Under has its fair share of blackened greatness. The latest installment comes from Graveir, a five-piece from Melbourne, with their new album King of the Silent World.
The band draws from a rich musical palette on this album, covering many corners of the world of black metal. “Bathed In Acheron” is a solid take on blackgaze, while “Phantasms in Daguerre” could almost be called funeral doom. Graveir makes great use of lead guitar melodicism to create bleak, anguished soundscapes. There’s a fair amount of dissonance too, like the spider-crawl riffs in “Fodder For The Gears” or the savage brutality of “Scaphism”. King of the Silent World manages to find balance between desolation, beauty, and cacophony, sometimes all in the course of one song.
While there’s a ton of promise and potential on King of the Silent World, the band hasn’t quite refined their craft yet. The main issue here is bloat, which the 56 minute runtime is an early warning sign for. As mentioned before, there’s a good amount of variety between tracks, but many of the songs themselves drag on too long. This isn’t helped by the slow tempos. The energy found in “Scaphism” doesn’t fully come back until the middle of “Waiting..”, but you have to put up with the song’s jaunty drum pattern to get to it. I do think the last two tracks get the downtempo bleakness right when assessed on their own, but in context of the rest of the album they just become a slog. There’s also an issue with transitions between songs – many of these feel awkwardly abrupt.
All that said, there’s still a handful of great tracks on King of the Silent World. The band has the right combination of styles, but with a bit more refinement and urgency, they could really elevate their sound to the next level.
Gravier’s new album King of the Silent World is out on 4/17 via Impure Sounds.
Best Tracks: Scaphism, Fodder For The Gears, Bathed In Acheron
Weakest Tracks: Waiting.., Immacolata
FFO: Blut aus Nord, Misþyrming, Sinmara
Overall Score: C+