Released: 2013, Svart Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
They may have put it in a smaller font but there’s definitely some benefit to having a well-known name prefacing your band moniker of choice. For one you don’t have to keep clarifying to everyone ‘we’re In-Graved, you know Victor Griffin from Pentagram he’s on guitar/vocals’ - even though you will - and secondly in this arbitrarily long list of advantages people are more likely to pay you attention. Yep that’s the horrible truth - deal with it. Or get yourself a celebrity band member.
Having established that this is a Victor Griffin project it’s time to rearrange your facial features to something between delight and surprise because it’s not just another mouthpiece for Griffin’s (albeit excellent) doom musterings. What you have with In-Graved is a heady mix of bluesy doom, stoner, 70s rock and Black Label Society that should satisfy most who want to hear riffs like Iommi made them. And bass junkies cause there are several of them at work here.
It’s approaching a style that Griffin once tried with his solo work, from which he has purloined ‘Late For An Early Grave’. At least it’s not a straight copy for this great little outlaw rocker. Better still is the doomy stoner number ‘What If...’, which chances upon Down III: Over The Under territory, before neatly tying up in an acoustic flourish.
Slightly different again is ‘Thorn In The Side’ with its rusty sounding guitar tone and fantastic organ work, but each track sees Griffin making the most of what could be argued as a limited vocal capability. Crooning or gruff toned though it’s a voice that you can believe in, one as far away from auto-tune robotics as possible, and that’s alright with me.
What’s left - a comfortable cover of Jethro Tull’s ‘Teacher’, and sort-of-ballads ‘Fading Flower’ and ‘Love Song For The Dying’. Slower and more sombre, neither track substitutes power for limp emotion and as such feels organic - and not just cause of the use of the Hammond. Perhaps they felt they couldn’t end on such a depressingly-named note though because other oldie ‘Never Surrender’ has a super jolly little guitar line that definitely wouldn’t get a note in a standard doom song. But it is just right for this catchy rock anthem brimming with upbeat positivity.
If that wasn’t what you expected when you followed the words Victor Griffin here, it just goes to show doom isn’t all... well doom and gloom. I had a jibe earlier about how that same name would help bring attention to the project, and that is sure to be true, but the greatest accolade I can give In-Graved is that I’d have thought just as highly of it if I hadn’t a clue who was involved.
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs