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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Grave Cross - Nothing But the Night EP

Artist: Grave Cross
Release Title: Nothing But the Night EP
Year: 2016
Label: Stormspell Records
Genre: Heavy Metal
1. Nothing but the Night
2. Curse of the Witch
3. Grave Cross
4. The Devil's Skull

The new EP from Mexican heavy metallers Grave Cross isn’t terribly original or enjoyable but does have enough to make it worthwhile in the right mood. The general air of thumping, swirling riff-work full of occultish-styled rhythms and plodding drumming all wrapped together in a dark, murky vibe throughout this one, it leaves an impression of the old-school occult metal/rockers that permeated the 80s which becomes all the more prominent here due to the way the whole production on this one plays out. That alone is part of the appeal here in that this one has such a deep and moody atmosphere with the production leading through here being a particularly pleasing down-and-dirty type of darker occult vibe that comes off nicely for this type of muted music. The main issue here is the fact that this one really isn’t all that well-suited for the type of plodding and lifeless pacing that’s on display here which is pretty much the main issue with this one. It really should be a much more lively affair instead of the sluggish plodding that occurs here, and in the end it drains the life out of the material despite all atmospheric goodwill it causes. Maybe if they were more than four tracks here it might’ve gotten a little better but it’s really main issue here.

Though there’s some bright spots here, it’s not always present here. The opening title track uses the sampled intro that leads into a steady mid-tempo series of dull, thumping rhythms and light chugging riff-work that continues on through the light paces with the light melodies holding through the solo section into the final half for a decent if sluggish opener. ‘Curse of the Witch’ features thumping mid-tempo drumming and a strong series of mid-tempo rhythms with the thumping riff-work and the charging drumming working through the lively, extended solo section and continuing on through the rocking finale for an enjoyable highlight effort. ‘Grave Cross’ offers swirling riffing and pounding occultish drumming that works into a decent mid-tempo charge with plenty of tight rhythms keeping this moving along into the solo section and into the final half for a decent effort overall. Lastly, album-closer ‘The Devil's Skull’ uses sprawling swirling riffing and light, chugging rhythms offering sluggish tempos and rather lackadaisical patterns through the hazy riffing with the extended swirling riffing leading through the sluggish finale for an overall bland lasting impression here.

Though this one does have some rather prominent flawed moments on display, there’s enough to get an idea of what’s going to be an enjoyable time here that it makes for a rather solid if nonessential part of the revival heavy metal scene if they can ever fix them in the future as they continue.

Score: 60/100

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