Next review: » Graveworm - Collateral Defect
Released: 2007, Nuclear Blast
Has it really been two years since (N)UTOPIA already? Italian black-gothic hybrid Graveworm have released COLLATERAL DEFECT, their sixth full-length album since their 1997 debut. Like its recent predecessors, the disc is a strong effort from a still-evolving band with a knack for smoothly blending brutality, atmosphere, and melody...and another knack for doing some very odd cover tunes. Comparisons have been (and no doubt will again be) drawn to Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth, and though elements of those bands can certainly be heard in Graveworm's music, the comparison isn't really accurate, as at this point in their career, the Italians are closer to gothic metal than they are to black metal.
Stylistic experimentation is the name of the game on this release. When it works, it's great, and when it doesn't quite work, it's still not too bad. Opener "Reflections" is a mostly-instrumental (save for a couple black metal snarls) introductory piece with strong industrial-drone influences. Took a couple listens to properly get into it and it still goes on a little too long for my personal taste, but it's okay. "Bloodwork" really starts off the album with a good example of the direction Graveworm is taking, combining machine-gun riffs and furious (but blast beat free) drumming with lush gothic-style keyboard lines and melodic interludes. Stefan Fiori adds vocal firepower, shifting effortlessly from black metal rasp to gutteral deathgrowl and back again, occasionally showing off his lung capacity by holding thirty-second screams. Most of the remainder of the tracks follow along similar lines, firing off technically tight rhythms with atmosphere-enhancing keyboard lines floated over the top but never dominating the mix. Some of the thicker, slower riffs sound a bit like Kataklysm's midtempo moments (and oddly enough, Kataklysm vocalst Maurizio Iacono adds some guest vocals in a couple spots), and maybe I've completely lost whatever degree of sanity I used to possess but I swear the verse rhythm in "The Day I Die" reminds me of Joe Satriani's "Mind Storm." Personal favorite "Suicide Code" features some melancholic and suprisingly beautiful piano and guitar melodies juxtaposed effectively with the hammering rhythms and vicious vocal performance to create an excellent unified whole. And while not quite as "they re-did WHAAAAT??"-inducing as their version of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" (originally on ENGRAVED IN BLACK before legal issues forced them to remove it and re-release it as a bonus track on (N)UTOPIA), their cover of Bonnie Tyler's "I Need A Hero" is at once perfect for their style and so absurd it's hilarious.
Not every experiment works perfectly, unfortunately. "Fragile Side" features guest vocals from The Sorrow's Mätze, who sounds okay when he adds in some clean singing lines, but when he starts barking out nu-metal style "aggressive" vocals, it just doesn't feel like it fits. Shame, too, because that song has a gorgeous melodic breakdown section. Then there's the closing instrumental "Memories," which features a haunting acoustic guitar theme and some excellent electronica-meets-symphonic keyboard passages. I really like it, but it seems to me like maybe it repeats itself a little too much over its six-plus minute length.
These are relatively minor complaints, though, and as a whole, COLLATERAL DEFECT is an excellent album and a fine addition to the Graveworm catalog. Fans of the band's recent material should have no cause to hesitate in adding this one to their collections, and anyone who enjoys a mix of the vicious and the melancholic may want to give it a spin. If you fall into the latter category, don't turn it off immediately because of the intro piece...give it a chance to work as a whole and you may be surprised to find how easily it'll grow on you.
3. Touch Of Hate
4. Suicide Code
5. The Day I Die
6. Fragile Side
7. I Need A Hero (Bonnie Tyler cover)
8. Out Of Clouds
9. Scars Of Sorrow
Stefan Fiori - Vocals
Martin Innerbichler - Drums
Harry Klenk - Guitar
Sabine Mair - Keyboards
Eric Righi - Guitars
Orgler Thomas - Guitar
Maurizio Iacono (Kataklysm) - Vocals
Mätze (The Sorrow) - Vocals
Previous review: » Graveworm - (N)Utopia
Next review: » Graveworm - Engraved In Black
Released: 2007, Nuclear Blast Records
This is the first time coming across a Graveworm album for me. I had heard that this Italy-based band`s early albums were Cradle of Filth clones, so I decided to stay away (after all, one Cradle if enough). After listening to COLLATERAL DEFECT, that`s clearly not the case anymore. In fact, I`d say that this band is confused as hell. Seriously, over the course of the album, they throw pretty much everything at the wall to see what sticks. There`s traces of the Cradled ones, melo-death, old-school Swedish death, and metalcore for shit`s sake!
Unfortunately, just about everything they try falls flat. Actually, that`s not true. Minus the intro, the first songs (``Bloodwork``, ``Touch of Hate``, and ``Suicide Code``) are good mixtures of gothic metal and melodic death metal. After that though, the album just dies, especially when we get to metalcore abortion `Fragile Side`. What fucking nonsense. Honestly guys, what the fuck made you think that this was a good idea? Metalcore has long since past the point where it is a bankable feature. Plus, the song sucks ass!
The band does get a special mention for their so-bad-it`s-good idea to cover Bonnie Tyler`s ``I Need A Hero``. That`s a funny, inspired choice right there.
Sadly, based on this album, the `followers, not leaders` tag is going to stick to Graveworm like glue. There is nothing original here, and nothing that really makes the band stand out from the crowd. Aside from `Fragile Side`, nothing is actively bad, but being average is just no enough these days.
3) Touch of Hate
4) Suicide Code
5) The Day I Die
6) Fragile Side
7) I Need a Hero
8) Out of Clouds
9) Scars of Sorrow
Stefano Fiori: Vocals
Sabine Mair Keyboards
Martin Innerbichler: Drums
Harry Klenk: Bass
Eric Righi: Guitars
Thomas Orgler: Guitars
Previous review: » Graveworm - (N)Utopia