|Review: Gravehuffer - ...Depart from So Much Evil|
|...Depart from So Much Evil|
Label: Black Doomba Records
Year released: 2023
Review online: February 10, 2023
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
for:...Depart from So Much Evil
Rated 4.22/5 (84.44%) (9 Votes)
After being completely gobsmacked by Your Fault, I went back and dug through the strange and sometimes brilliant catalog of Gravehuffer to find that they've pretty much always been one of the more creative and entertaining death/grind acts out there. Sure, plenty of bands in the style bash around with a punky disregard for convention, and the band is hardly above doing something silly for its own sake (see the bizarre mashup cover of Frank Zappa's "Inca Roads'' and Black Sabbath's "Children of the Grave" for reference), but Gravehuffer stand out by having decidedly strong musicianship and keen songwriting sensibilities that make music that contains actual ideas behind it while defiantly tossing aside expectations to do whatever the hell they want. I will say that Your Fault remains their most oddball and engaging release while their debut Blasphemusic is understandably a bit more standard (though still high quality) and NecroEclosion saw a shift towards slightly more structured and deathy songwriting, so I was a little afraid the band might start becoming stale or, much worse, generic by the time this album came out.
Admittedly, I was a little worried that's what happened when I heard opener "Blueprint for an Early Grave," which is a pretty typical track for this band at this rate, but by the time the blistering "Slayberry" screeched to a doomy crawl, I knew I should never have doubted the band. The last really standard song is the punchy "Go Murder, Pray, and Die," and the rest has all the fearless experimentation the band is best known for, whether it be the genuinely atmospheric and trippy "Brainstorm" or the pummeling, varied "The Cryptid and the Iron Bird."
The real centerpiece, however, is the closing title track, a 22-minute epic that's effectively a retelling of Dante's Inferno and Paradisio. Musically, it runs the gamut from chunky death metal to moody interludes to oddball, almost proggy sentiments, all while never doing what you'd expect it to. I will say the closing section of Inferno contains nothing but screams of the damned and fire that probably goes on a minute longer than it needs to, and in the end, I'm not entirely sure that the song holds together as a fully cohesive piece, but I can't say it's ever boring or predictable, which is exactly the kind of thing the band has been striving for since the beginning.
I was initially disappointed in this release, but while not every idea it has works as well as it wants, I can now say that ...Depart from So Much Evil is a strong, iconoclastic work of strange death/grind that often works in ways that defy common expectations. A worthy addition to the deranged discography of one of the southern United States' most deranged and innovative bands.
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