Thursday, 30 July 2015

Graveland "Prawo Stali" (2001)

 It was back in the early days of my minecraft adventures that I discovered this record and a little nostalgia for the game always brings back fond memories of caving adventures and building for the first time while listening to this record on repeat. Rob Darken's "Graveland" holds a formidable reputation in the Black Metal scene. Emerging out of Poland in 92, before the scene flourished with exposure and controversy in Norway, Rob has been consistent releasing records, over 20 in total, since the inception. The quality is somewhat inconsistent, but on "Prawo Stali" he strikes a nerve with a glorious and immersive record defined by its unique theme of viking warfare, paganism and mythology as well as executing some of Black Metals most standardized principles in a unique and memorable fashion.

The beauty of this record is both in its aesthetic and writing, both of which excel, creating a rich, atmospheric record of dense mystic black which rolls over the ears with fuzzy high end guitars chiming with deep horns and a buried base line. Rob's vocal's are usually a little to shrill for my ears, but on this record he gets the balance right and utilizes the wordless screams with thick, echoing reverbs that create haunting chills, amplifying the intensity as the screams cry out from under the other instruments. The drums are a tad stiff and lifeless, but they hold a solid beat for the other instruments and never make much of an attempt to gain your focus. The key here is in the chemistry between the guitars and symphonic elements which continually create the best moments and drive home the strong sense of theme this record has.

There's a warlike feel coursing through these songs, set in mythic times one can envision the glory of conquest as the symphonics gleam victorious sounds of horns blaring the signals of attack across the battle field. The drums clash and pound like the rhythm of warfare while Rob delivers his battlecrys that echo and resonate under the thunderous noise. The progressions and notation used between the guitars and horns helps glue the record together with each ten minute epic feeling right at home with one another, yet each finding their own niche and mood to carve a different setting. The albums only flaw is perhaps its production and the drumming which could of been polished better, but its always a point of debate that the lack of fidelity falls inline perfectly with the records ancient and mythic feel which does an incredible job of uniting such strong themes together under the Black Metal banner.

Favorite Song: Tyrani Okrucienstwa
Rating: 9/10