Released: 2016, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
The first time I heard Graves at Sea it was during their set at MDF a few years ago. Despite going on in the early afternoon in front of a small, but no less enthusiastic crowd, the Phoenix quartet railed through their brand of sludge doom like their lives depended on it. With only a handful of splits, demos, and EPs to their credit at the time, it was a convincing set totally propelled by power and tangible filth. Fast forward to the spring of 2016 and the imminent release of their first proper full length, THE CURSE THAT IS, and Graves at Sea are set to drop that power and visceral filth on the masses.
Taking their inspirational cues from the likes of Eyehategod, Buzzov*en, and Sourvein, Graves at Sea revel in the kind of rancid, low tuned, sun beaten fuzz that makes weaker men tremble. Much more than amplified noise, there’s always a riff and a groove to latch onto as Nathan Misterek spits, growls, and screeches tomes of emptiness and abuse.
THE CURSE THAT IS can be a bit overwhelming at times, no doubt about that. It’s an album best served with your full attention (and really a good buzz, too); heaps of riffs, piled upon gnarled riffs – things get a bit blurry at times. But monsters like the title track, “Waco 177” and the exceptional “Ashes Made Her Beautiful” with its rusted violin strains whisk me back to that afternoon at the Edison Lot, reminding me why so many of us were fixated on this band that we knew so little about.
Long overdue, THE CURSE THAT IS serves itself as a debut worthy of Graves at Sea’s reputation. It’s often ugly, sometimes beautiful, but always a crowd pleaser.