Thu 15th May 2014
Here's another tasty collision of two fantastic doom bands, with the resulting explosive wreckage laid bare upon vinyl and CD. Graves at Sea and Sourvein have just completed a tour of the UK, one I was sad to miss, but delving into this split helps heal the sorrow.
Well, it would if it weren't so morose of course. Graves at Sea have seemingly been very active recently, with albums, EPs, Sabbath covers and tours before this, and they are displaying an increasing move toward the essential within doom circles. Their two tracks are uniformly and wholy expected depressive darkened doom downer, but never one dimentional, character evident in abundance. Half the vocals sound like Linda Blair reprising her Exorcist role, reading you your last rites while you're neck deep in snow, in the path of an avalanche of sonic oppression, but there's groove here in this doom and it sounds wholly magnificent.
Sourvein have been around for a staggering 20 years now. It's been a little while since I've listened to them, and it's striking how my perception of their music has changed from, say, a decade ago. Back then, with my own tastes leaning more centrally within stoner rock, and with the disparing depths of doom welled less intensely and frequently in general, I always viewed Sourvein as menacing and dark, yet here, in 2014, especially welded to the monstrous Graves at Sea, they sound positively fuzzy, almost stoner, reminding me of bands like Blood Island Raiders (previous split partners of Sourvein themselves). It's all relative - it could be argued it sounds dated, but I'd disagree, and it is certainly not meant as a negative.
No, this is doom alright, with the obligatory nod to Black Sabbath surfacing early in their opening track, the big riffing and all round excellent Driffter. They offer an excellent, well rounded three tracks in total for their share of the split, and prove to all that they still hold interest, relevance and most of all the tunes, as they move into their third decade of existence.
All in all, an excellent release, with stunning artwork - a collectable with nary a weak angle to report upon.