Released: 2011, Nykta Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
If you’re going to title your album PURE NEGATIVITY, you’d better be sure that it lives up to the expectation. And Helsinki’s Graveborne appear up to the challenge with their full length debut of the same name. The band cranks a brand of modern black metal with the guts of a traditional metal band, and thankfully steers free from so many of the genre’s pitfalls. This isn’t your prettified Hot Topic brand of black metal kids, this is the good stuff.
Where so many black metal bands today are focused on how raw they can sound or how fast their picking hand can buzz, Graveborne take a very different approach. 1) The album “sounds” exceptional. It’s crisp and clean, but the sound of the album carries the kind of weight you’d expect from a Cannibal Corpse record. Each instrument stands out in the mix and the whole thing is just freakin’ heavy. 2) The tunes are longer, methodical and well thought out. Most tracks on PURE NEGATIVITY crack the six minute mark, allowing an opportunity for the riffs and arrangements to really sink in. The band does has its faster moments like on the opening track “Metamorphosis,” but it’s slower, more brooding tracks like “Dark Clouds of Pestilence” and “The Covenant” that carry the album past the goal line. Even though Graveborne stick to the usual subject matter (death, religion, nihilism, etc.), the packaging that they wrap their message in makes the tunes resonate more with the listener.
And the tunes are generally solid. The compositions are stocked full of riffs a plenty, and if you were to strip the scowling vocals and pick up the pace a bit, Graveborne would probably sound like a heavy thrash band. So yeah, it’s good stuff. PURE NEGATIVITY doesn’t shake the foundations of metal, black or otherwise, but it’s a quality debut that’s got plenty to like. PURE NEGATIVITY is available now, check out the band’s website for more details.