Graves At Sea, a Portland based doom outfit, release their new EP, “This Place is Poison” to coincide with their appearance at Roadburn this year. Eolian Empire is taking the releasing duties for this event, pressing a limited number of 12” Vinyl discs to harken the reemergence of Graves At Sea. The time around Roadburn is essentially the “holy holiday” for lovers of doom and sludge, and given the general “holiday” spirit, is this new EP up for continued celebration? Lets take a look.
The first track is the title track and is a glorious song packed with slow driving crust and sludge fuel guitars backed by a beat like a slow trudge through the darkest of places on earth. Along side this darkly sludge fueled notes, Nathan delivers vocals sometimes as low end growl, sometimes frantic guttural scream, but always with the bleakest of emotions. This is waves after wave of low end despair, in short near perfect doomy side of metal.
The second track is ‘Orchid’+ ‘Into The Void’, both Black Sabbath covers from their “Masters of Reality” album. ‘Orchid’ gets a nice reimaging by Graves at Sea, paying homage to the grandfathers of all things doom. The pacific quartet continue their slow onslaught of sludge, giving rise to a collection of sounds that even the forefathers could be proud of. I generally am on the fence about covers, there seems to be no middle ground, either its really good or it just misses the mark. Even worse when today’s bands fills up two and three tracks with covers seemingly to round out a full LP. This always leaves me wondering if they just didn’t have it in them to write the rest of the album. Here Graves at Sea give a wonderful sludgy interpretation complete with Vincent Price sounding vocals at times. This cover reminds of the Halestorm rendition of ‘Straight Through The Heart’. Both bands had the balls to take a song and render their interpretation and what came out was a thing or beauty. This sludge and slow vocal deliver on ‘Into The Void’, really hits the mark.
If this is preview of what the future will bring for Graves At Sea, consider my appetite whetted and ready for more. I can only hope that these lads are off in some forest in the Portland area writing more songs. Graves At Sea created “This Place is Poison” and it was great, the only downfall is it’s only an EP. Well done, but I for one hope you are getting more shit recorded, I can’t wait.