Band – Graceless
Album – Where Vultures Know Your Name
Country of Origin – The Netherlands
Genre – Death Doom Metal
Release Date – March 27, 2020
Label – Raw Skull Recordz
Author – Bret Casey
Full disclosure: I don’t normally listen to doom metal. My preferences are typically more high octane. So when I say I actually enjoyed this album, that means it achieved something most doom metal albums can’t.
The artwork for the album is so good it deserves a nod in the review. Alex Tartsus gives us an ominous landscape full of disturbingly beautiful imagery. There’s religious, mechanical, fleshy horror, and fantastical beasts all existing in a gritty hellish landscape. I especially love the twisted version of Michael the Archangel slaying a demon to the right on the cover. It kinda has a Luca Giordano meets H.R. Giger feel to it. Dark, twisted, beautiful; love it!
One of my biggest turn offs in doom is that bands tend to play a riff until I’m damn near sick of it, before changing things up. Unlike many doom metal records, this album is packed with riffs, and they change things up often within a song. None of the transitions feel forced and they manage to keep things fresh as the album goes on.
Retaliation Of The Wicked and Warpath are probably the closest to death metal of the lot with quite a bit of energy, for doom metal songs.
Commander Of Christ has my favorite solos on the album. I wish that I knew more about guitars to describe the guitar tone for them, but the sound is filthy goodness.
Songs like Nine Days Of Mourning, Where Vultures Know My Name, and Embrace The Rain have very ominous atmospheres that make me feel like I’m standing in the album artwork, surrounded by the corpses of men, angels, and Cthulhu-like creatures. There’s a storm thundering in the distance and I’m not sure I’ll survive.
Again I’m not typically a doom fan, but this album might be the first step of making me a full convert. And if it does it will always hold a special place for me as my gateway album.
Biography: Bret Casey is a music enthusiast from Maine USA with ties to the death metal and punk communities. When he isn’t reviewing music he’s spending time with his wife and kids or gaming with his friends and family.