THE DEMO CORNER
Cold Grave - Lycanthrope
Oakland, California has been well represented in the last two days by some seriously heavy bands that have passed my desk. For a taste of black-death that’s well-produced with a truly evil feel, look to the Bay area for Cold Grave. Weakness isn’t in this band’s thesaurus, there’s no question of that.
When considering Cold Grave’s overall sound I immediately think of a much more sinister Dark Tranquility sound, yet the intensity of the music surpasses the DT unit for my tastes. It’s sincerely refreshing to hear that black-death sound that’s crafted overseas so well make its way back here to be performed with the utmost care and ability. The U.S. is again fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in producing some great metal acts in both the thrash and death arena.
Cold Grave’s first effort is a riff-frenzied assault that diminishes not one iota during the experience. The soloing is top-notch in “The Frost”, and backed with a pretty impressive production where literally every instrument is well-represented you can really enjoy the music to its maximum potential. Hardly a cut-and-paste job, the seeming norm these days, Lycanthrope instead delivers a barbed wire fist to the face of the casual fan expected run-of-the-mill death metal that’s either generic or a Death Magnetic puzzle to be shoved haphazardly out the studio door. With some overly impressive time changes, familiar galloping that, while formulaic, is a welcome relief from the tremolo sweeping every band seems bent on doing Lycanthrope impresses as well as entertains the listener. Karl Fisher handles the throaty vocals with an ease not too often found in today’s death metal sound; rather than forcing the issue his tone appears flawlessly easy, making the full experience all the more enjoyable.
This is a fast-paced foray into the death metal world that isn’t as foreboding as Incantation, yet doesn’t yell out ‘death-lite’ either. “Let Darkness Bring Them Pain” is the type of track that one might play when driving home after a particularly grueling day at work with an delusional, caustic boss; you just hit the expressway, crank it up and fly in and out of traffic, weeding out undercover cop cars from soccer moms en route home. See, you can have some serious fun while listening to this CD…legal or otherwise is up to you; we just inform here at the Psalter.
On top of pure metal oozing out of the system of your choice, Cold Grave manages to bring a modern sensibility to the underground of the oft-diluted U.S. death scene. From the onset this CD causes the listener to realize that not only are we Statesmen still viable and capable of such intelligent, organized metal, we’re also able to reclaim our throne as originators of the scene one album and band at a time.
Release Date: January 18, 2010
Label: Graveyard Records
3. Death Machine
4. Ancestry of Murder
5. The Frost
6. Face of Betrayal
7. Holes in Time
8. Of the Dead
9. Let Darkness Bring Them Pain
10. Dying Eyes
11. The Plague
Total playing time: 38:13
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July 30, 2010