Released: 2005, Nuclear Blast/Sound Pollution
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Graveworm have been around for while, the first EP, “ETERNAL WINDS” came in –97 and the year after came the debut album. This Italian band changed record labels to Nuclear Blast and released the studio album ENGRAVED IN BLACK which stayed on the German trend charts for several weeks. They did shows at various festivals during the summer of '03 like Wacken Open Air, Summer Breeze and Metal Fest Vienna and they have toured with acts like Kataklysm and Destruction. Some problems occured during '04 which lead to a member switch. The bands drummer, Martin Innerbichler, left the band because of health problems and was replaced by Moritz Neuner during early '05. Martin simply had to take a time out and it’s uncertain if he’s ever coming back. Someone who definitly has left the band is the guitar player Steve Unterpertinger. The new axeman is Lukas Flarer who has written some of the material. Another comeback in the band is original founder, Harry Klenk, who’s back on bass...now making Graveworm a six piece act.
My first meeting with Graveworm was when I heard their last album “ENGRAVED IN BLACK”. The bio says “Graveworm is far from beinga poor copy of Cradle of Filth or Dimmu Borgir, they are a matured act with an own identity”. I’ve never looked upon Graveworm as a copy of those acts, but sure, if you take a real close look you may find some musical similarites with Cradle of Filth. Graveworm are described as melodic black metal but I also hear some symphonic and techno. They have also a lot of tempo changes, and even though it’s melodic black metal it leans more into the melodic than the black metal area. Altogether it seems like the band has worked harder this time to make the material more varied.
The band have once again used the same producer as last time (Andy Classen - Krisiun, Rotting Christ, Holy Moses, Dew-Scented etc) and also his German studio Stage One Studios. As always Andy does a terrific job with the production. He’s added heavy guitars to Stefanos growling/screaming vocals. They have arranged beautiful keyboard parts that gives the songs an almost gothic feeling.
Stefanos voice manages everything from growling/screaming/black metal and ordinary vocals and Sabine is a rock behind her keyboard. Moritz behind the drums is skillfull and fast and the guitars are handled with grace by Lukas and Eric.
Just as on the last album, 9 tracks are featured on “(N)UTOPIA” but this time they haven’t added a cover. Now it’s only an instrumental song called “DEEP INSIDE”. The quality of the songs are high but some that stand out are “I-THE MACHINE” which is a fast melodic black metal track that starts off with a real fast intro. Then the tempo drops and the songs turns into a symphonic black metal song with keyboards. The tempo shifts from pure black metal to more symphonic black metal, in other words are the music is pretty technical and the biggest part of the sound picture belongs to Sabine on keyboard. “(N)UTOPIA” has a more distinct melodic black metal feeling and Stefano shifts between using black metal vocals and ordinary vocals. “HATEFUL DESIGN” is a melodic black metal track where Stefano has the biggest part in the sound picture, Lukas and Eric share the sound picture with their roaring guitars. “TIMELESS” starts off with an keyboard intro in a slow pace before the rest of the guys joins in. Stefano almosts whispers the vocals before he bursts out in black metal vocals in the first chorus. The song ends where it starts with only keyboard. “OUTSIDE DOWN” kicks off right away and turns into a mid-fast melodic black metal track. The music is technical and holds a lot of tempo changes.
This album feels a lot stronger than the previous and it feels like the band has put some time into writing the best material they possibly can. This album is for everyone who’s into the melodic black metal scene or for the old fans of course. The only negative thing I can find about “(N)UTOPIA” is the instrumental track which feels a bit unnecessary.
Graveworm is about to do a video to “I-THE MACHINE” and they’re also releasing “(N)UTOPIA” as a club single. An extensive tour with crazy humpa metallers of Finntroll in April is planned as well.