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The Graviators - Motherload Award winner

The Graviators
by Erika Kuenstler at 27 March 2014, 2:46 AM

Have you ever wanted to experience a trip sans the drugs? If so, THE GRAVIATORS have just the thing for you: their latest homage that allows you to lay down your soul to the gods Rock ‘n Roll. Having been formed in Sweden in 2009 with the intention of paying tribute to the great Rock ‘n Roll bands of the 70s, the 28th of March sees the release of their latest album “Motherload”; their best work to date, in my opinion.

Drawing on Doom and Stoner Metal influences, THE GRAVIATORS add their own unique spin on things, with a more melody-driven sound than is typically found in Doom Metal. What I enjoyed is that they manage to achieve an almost occult atmosphere whilst simultaneously keeping their sound fairly clean, although the slight rawness adds an authentic Old School feel to everything. With many parts of their album going back to the Bluesy roots of Metal, THE GRAVIATORS manage to balance this out with catchy riffs, insane solos, groovy melodies, and overpowering heaviness. The album also features guest musician Petrus Fredestad on keyboards, and he does a brilliant job of adding to the overall atmosphere.

Listening to the first track “Leif’s Last Breath”, the majesty that is Black Sabbath comes to mind, shrouded by a BATHORY-esque fog that dulls out all else that is going on around you, taking you on a voyage of when Viking’s longships roamed the oceans and the world was theirs’ for the taking. This track provides an excellent opening for the album, and does well in easing the listener in and preparing them for what comes next. And what follows is one solid track after another, with beautiful, intricate, crisp and precise solos perfectly counterbalancing the grungier, trippy, psychedelic riffage. The vocals provided by Niklas Sjöberg are brilliant, ranging from clean to devilish shrieking without breaking stride. With over one and a quarter hours’ worth of music, you’d expect some dud track, excessive filling, or an overall pedestrian sound, but here again THE GRAVIATORS don’t disappoint, with each song complementing the album in one way or another.

Another outstanding feature of the album is how THE GRAVIATORS manage to convey dark and eerie preternatural and transcendental atmospheres without relying on any cheap horror tricks. For example, the very bass-driven parts of “Bed of Bitches” conjures threatening and menacing atmospheres without having to delve into the superfluous horror elements drawn on by some contemporary bands. I could wax lyrical about almost all of the tracks on this album, but I think my point is made.

Each song delivers a breath-taking variation that plumbs the very depths of your mind. The final song “Druid’s Ritual” is a re-recording of the track they released on their split album with BRUTUS. Clocking in at just under a quarter of an hour long, this song shows just how much THE GRAVIATORS have progressed over the years, and rounds off the album well, slowly bringing the listener back down to earth, and back from their stellar trip.

Overall, although very long, this album is proof that you can have a retro sound that still remains fresh throughout. If a mix-up of Classic Hard Rock and Stoner / Doom Metal sounds like something you’d like to sink your teeth into, eternal shame on you for reading this far! Go and buy the album already. Stay tuned for more uncovering of THE GRAVIATORS.

4 Star Rating

1. Leif’s Last Breath – Dance of the Valkyrie
2. Narrow Minded Bastards
3. Bed of Bitches
4. Tigress of Siberia
5. Lost Lord
6. Corpauthority
7. Drowned in Leaves
8. Eagles Rising
9. Druid’s Ritual
Niklas Sjöberg – Vocals
Martin Fairbanks – Guitar
Johan Holm – Bass
Henrik Bergman – Drums
Record Label: Napalm Records


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