When metal was officially birthed as a genre decades ago, there were no editing softwares to “clean up” performances, and there weren’t artificial amp simulators or programmable drums to aid in musical production. I love these tools, but I will concede that in some regards, the organic sound and simplicity of classic metal has been washed out by advances in technology. Bands like Gravehuffer proudly forego the polish and carry on the spirit of raw heavy metal with their latest release, “Your Fault,” a 13 track beast of an album. For over a decade, Gravehuffer has crafted their sound into an other-worldly amalgamation of Crust, Punk, Metal, Grindcore, and unapologetic down-tuned Sludge-laden Doom. And “Your Fault” stays true to all the genres that give Gravehuffer form, with all the trimmings and filler stripped away.
Out of the gate, the opening track which shares the same name as the band perfectly exemplifies the core tenants of their sound: sludgy, chunky riffs, tribal-sounding drum work, and throaty vocals that would sound at home in an old VHS-era horror movie. There is absolutely nothing pretty to be found in this crawling anthem, and I’m guessing these guys wouldn’t have it any other way. However, track 2, “Of Fish and Men,” starts with a driving bass riff that showcases the bassist that was all but sidelined in the opening track, and delves into a much more Motorhead-sounding direction than the previous track, with speed and aggression rather than doom and gloom. But once more the blackened doom rears its beautifully ugly head with the next track, “Kill for Sport.” The rest of the album switches from Sabbath-era doom metal to pre-Metallica era thrash, and it’s glorious. Gravehuffer’s ability to harness both ends of the spectrum of speed is extremely impressive, and gives this album variety that other albums of the same ilk might otherwise be lacking.
If you like your metal as raw as an uncooked slab of meat, and enjoy both the sounds of impending doom and relentless, speed-driven aggression, Gravehuffer has delivered the record you’ve been waiting for. Head on over to https://gravehuffer.bandcamp.com/album/your-fault to listen to the record for free and show these guys some well-deserved love.
Overall Sound – 8 out of 10 (roughly mixed death metal that alternates between creeping blackened doom metal and nonstop bursts of speed metal insanity)
Vocal Style – 6 out of 10 (raw vocals that get the job done, but sometimes don’t stand up to the other instruments)
Overall Song Composition – 9 out of 10 (the sheer variety of songs on this album help Gravehuffer stand out from the pack)
Originality – 8 out of 10 (these guys definitely have a sound all their own, even if it is easy to pick up on their influences)