Label: Black Doomba Records
Release Date: 15/01/2021
Country: United States
Here’s an album we’ve been excited about for a VERY long time, honestly I’ve been wanting to review this for a while, but I decided to wait until the pre-orders became available so that all of you could get your orders in after reading this.
So lets finally look at Gravehuffer’s upcoming album NecroEclosion, set for release on January 15th through Black Doomba Records.If you aren’t familiar with Gravehuffer, then honestly, you’ve been missing out. The band hail from Joplin, Missouri and play a unique and captivating blend of sludge, crust punk, death metal, thrash, doom and grindcore. Honestly their sound is all over the place and that’s what I love so much about them, but more on that later.
The band formed back in 2008 under the name Krom, but after releasing one album titled Chaotic Evil (2009) they changed their name in 2010 to Gravehuffer. This will be the band’s third full length album, but also follows a number of splits, compilations and EPs.
The band is Travis McKenzie (vocals), Ritchie Randal (guitars and vocals), Jay Willis (drums and vocals) and Mike Jilge (bass). There’s also some killer cameos on this album, we get a guitar solo on track 3 Sight to the Sky from Dan ‘Chewy’ Mongrain of Voivod, as well as another solo on track 11 Smaller Than Death from Curran Murphy of Annihilator and Nevermore.
So let’s get into the music! We open with Custom of the Sea, a true hymn to Poseidon if I ever heard one. The opening of this track and the album as a whole is epic. We kick off with an audio clip that breaks out into shouted vocals and some great death metal vocals, accompanied by some catchy as hell riffs. The chorus “LORD POSSEIDON! HEAR ME! I ACCEPT MY FATE! DEALT BY THE CUSTOM OF THE SEA!” is just killer and has been stuck in my head since first hearing this track. The combination of the shouted vocals paired with the harsh death metal vocals really adds a lot of dramatic effect and diversity.
Track 2 Hellhound is very much a crust punk/grindcore driven song with some thrash influences thrown in. Its essentially 2 and a half minutes or raw energy and aggression.
Track 3 Sights to the Sky opens with an audio clip from Buzz Aldrin and then kicks off into a blend of shouted and distorted death metal vocals. This is another high energy track with a truly killer, highly technical solo (courtesy of Dan ‘Chewy’ Mongrain of Voivod) kicking off at 2:50, with the song then shifting tempos into a trudging doom pace.
Track 4 Death Before Disco is honestly just fantastic, its hilarious as well as being a genuinely great track. The first minute of the track is a cover of You Should Be Dancing by the Beegees before exploding into a truly aggressive grindcore track. This has some of the rawest shrieked and gargled vocals on the album, as well as some crazily fast paced drumming and shredding. Who would ever expect to hear the Beegees and grindcore in the same song and that the song would actually be fantastic?
Track 5 Stingray starts off with some killer guitar work and has a fantastic energy from start to finish. This song really rocks hard and would probably even be enjoyed by those who dislike extreme metal. This is very much a heavy metal track despite semi shouted vocals and hardcore punk influences. I guarantee that the guitar tone and the killer riffs presented would make any old school metal fan grin ear to ear. We have Craig Hecht who does some guest guitar work on this track to thank for how truly killer it is.
Track 6 Ghost Dance is the single that the band chose to put out back on September 3rd and I can see why, what a track this is! We get some real death thrash energy on this one. Its a constant barrage on the listener between the guitar and drum work and the death metal vocals relentlessly blasting. We get breaks every so often for some menacing segments featuring harsh shouted verses and raw blackened grind style vocals. The overall theme of the track is the oppressive history of Native Americans. The lyrics discuss these matters, as well as the title and a soundclip at the end of the track featuring Native American chanting.
Track 7 Quarantine War Machine is a blistering grindcore/crust punk track with face melting energy and ferocity. The track as can be gathered from its title discusses quarantine and a disease outbreak. The vocals on this one are just fantastic, they’re pretty much textbook grind/hardcore vocals and are presented with a level of aggression I haven’t hear in a while. At around 3:15 things become interestingly proggy. We get some clean vocals introduced that I didn’t see coming, yet I should have learned by now to not be surprised by anything that Graveghuffer choose to do on their albums.
Track 8 Causes opens with an interesting doomy black metal feel to it and gives me some serious early Bathory vibes. This is what I love so much about this band and this album, their influences are literally everywhere. The track then shifts to have some almost black n roll elements to it which it continues for most of its length. Then suddenly we are hit with a composition of horns which were arranged and performed by Doug Discharry and take us through to the close of the song.
Track 9 Backpack is another grind/crust track with some thrash influences mixed in for good measure. This one is riff central with the guitar never taking a break until about the 3-minute mark when we shift into a creeping and crushingly heavy doom/sludge section.
Track 10 Mad Wolf is the longest on the album and features a lot of different elements. It opens with a young girl singing followed by an array of horns and raw shouted vocals. This track has a truly epic feeling to it, driven by not only the horns, but also the drum work and the power behind the vocals. Around 1:30 we kick into some straight up death metal, which doesn’t last long before the shouted vocals come back but this time they’re layered. We shift back and forth between these two styles until around 3:45 when things slow right down for what is essentially a doom death section. Then around 4:45 we get a really interesting section where the band combine death metal and horns which makes for an epic listening experience.
The final track on the album Smaller Than Death is very much in the doom/sludge realm with death metal elements. We get some killer drum work on this one and some heavily downturned guitar work. There’s a great mix of various vocal styles present on this track. The song and ultimately the album end with a wild display of shredding. This killer solo was as mentioned performed by Curran Murphy of Annihilator and Nevermore.
If you haven’t figured this out yet I happen to be a big fan of this release and I honestly believe that if you get a chance to listen to it you will be too. So, get your pre-order in as soon as possible because this is an album you are going to want to hear, not just once by regularly.
Pre-order below and listen to the pre-released seingle Ghost Dance: