Anyone else in the mood for primitive, lo-fi black metal? Graves comes out of Portugal, and their debut album Liturgia da Blasfémia is exactly that. Thick, cavernous black metal that howls and drools evil all over the carpet when you let it into your house. Production that sounds like the engineer had tentacles instead of fingers. But still with just enough clarity that the intent doesn’t get lost in a wash of reverb and candle smoke. Know what I mean?
If there’s an issue to be had, it’s that there’s little more here to add to the conversation. Everything from opener “Do demiurge..Ultraje de viver” to wraparound closer “Via Dolorosa até Golgota” is about what you’d expect from a band trafficking in early 90s Norwegian nostalgia. There’s no embarrassment, and Graves acquit themselves well when things get buzzing, as on “I Am Fire, I Am Death.” Tremolo lines sit above a flurry of drums and caterwauling dumped in a tank of reverb so deep angler fish hunt near the bottom. It’s suitably evil and blasphemous, and because it’s new it gets some freshness just for not being the same set of chords we’ve all been memorizing from the grandfathers of the genre.
It’s essentially rinse and repeat for the rest of Liturgia da Blasfémia. At 36 minutes the album goes by at a brisk pace, and each song has a nice flow, so thumbs up for sequencing. The fast tracks all have a very similar feel, and the slow tracks do as well. That’s great for consistency, but a little more dynamic writing would really help in differentiating the album from what others are currently doing out there. Sure, we all get that basement fury of keeping black metal “pure” (whatever the hell that means), but that shouldn’t necessarily equate to “boring.” Which Graves and Liturgia da Blasfémia isn’t, but damned if I can’t really say anything more than “yeah it’s pretty good. Sounds like what you think based on the cover and the description.”
Do you want more than that from this kind of black metal? Do you need more than that? That’s really for you to decide. Graves seems perfectly content to revel in the dark and the black, churning out solid lo-fi black metal for the folks who know only monochrome, and there’s a place for that. Liturgia da Blasfémia does not disgrace, but nor does it raise the bar. For a certain type of music fan, that may well be the whole of the Law.
Liturgia da Blasfémia is out now from Iron Bonehead Productions. For more information on Graves maybe initiate a black mass because I couldn’t find any contact info..