Reviewed: March 2018
Released: 2018, www.nwnprod.com/
Reviewer: Owen Thompson
Australia is most definitely a fervent hotbed of superlative extreme metal at the moment. Along with the likes of Destroyer 666 and Aquilus, you can now add Grave Upheaval to the list. A truly crushing and brutal example of Death Metal. They are clearly also a band who like to thumb their noses at convention. “Untitled” is their second full-length album, and bizarrely their first album was also entitled “Untitled”. Add to this they also thoroughly thumb their noses at convention by not using regular song titles. None of this matters, of course, as long as the material is suitably potent; and by the name of our dark lord it certainly is! What an enigmatic duo they are!
Opener “II-I” begins with two minutes of spooky nothingness (no they are not doing a John Cage cover) before exploding with some doomylicious rifferama. A creeping barrage of torturous palaeolithic pounding more heavy than a Wookiee’s lunch. At just the right moment the band explodes with a salvo of salacious sonic sodomy.
“II-II” follows on, and I can only imagine this is what getting crushed to death by a boa constrictor feels like. Momentum is maintained with the ugly and vicious “II-III” and the deranged “II-IV”, a perverse slab of auditory granite. This luxurious ordeal is only furthered by the morbid, visceral and decadent “II-V”, a pitiless inferno of a track, and a glorious racket. Next up is “II-VI”, a thunderous and unfussy buzzsaw pulveriser, as blunt as a Yorkshire man’s wit. This expanse of globulous murk is underpinned by the spectral, funereal vocals creating an eidolic, atmospheric field of rage. Listening to “II-VII” is akin to being beaten to within an inch of your life and actually enjoying it. This sullen, miserable, marvellous experience is rounded off my “II-VIII” bringing this dark carnival of guttural delight to a close.
Grave Upheaval have clearly honed their aural weapons to a fine point. The swampy bog of the guitars fall somewhere between Cianade and Demoncy and create an atmosphere of suicidally depressing and oppressive deathliness. The vocals growl and shriek with the ghostly presence of a banshee with bronchitis, and are placed fairly low in the mix, allowing the musicianship of the rest of the band to shine. Much proficiency is found beneath the carnage. Stephen King once wrote that salvation and damnation are the same thing. I never quite understood that statement until I heard this album.