Saturday, September 2, 2023

Full Length Review: Gravehuffer "…Depart From So Much Evil" (Black Doomba Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Gravehuffer
Location: Joplin, Missouri
Country: USA
Genre: Experimental grindcore
Format: Digital album, digipak CD
Label: Black Doomba Records
Release date: February 17, 2023
Alan Lisanti noted in his review of Gravehuffer's second full length "Your Fault" that they forged their own path, challenging conventions and making efforts to shape the future without catering to genre classifications. Each subsequent recording continued in that direction, finally culminating in "…Depart From So Much Evil", most likely the new stage in their evolution. Eleven years of finding new ways to bring their vision to life are beginning to pay off as longtime fans are realizing their dynamic magnitude.
As an experimental grindcore band still making an art form of coordinating crust punk, sludge, thrash and death metal as well as what sounds like ambient, industrial, stoner and early grunge, Gravehuffer leads by example. Can grind transcend its confines and become a progressive statement? According to this band, it can. Recorded during multiple sessions with separate drummers, "…Depart From So Much Evil" consists of one song from each member of the band, followed by an experimental, theatrically presented concept piece based on Dante Alighieri's epic poem, "Divine Comedy". Gravehuffer has found a balance between their roots and innovation, pleasing purists and people seeking something new in extreme music equally from what I’ve seen.
Instead of recounting the entire story, Gravehuffer constructed their own interpretation of Alighieri’s poem based musically and lyrically on the sentiments it evoked. A collective effort, it constitutes an idiomatic apocalyptic tale about the downsides of capitalism, the overdependence on technology, the weaponization of fundamentalism and the intellectual stupor of a populace that abandoned free will and independent thought, entrusting everything to a self-absorbed ruling party interested in furthering their own power. It captures the resulting panic and a desperate attempt to flee, with nowhere to flee to, portraying a disconsolate view of society falling apart, heading figuratively and literally to a hell where humanity must reap the benefits of its complacence.
As listeners who observe humanity's fate from the outside, we know where it is heading from the beginning, but we can just watch it unfold at a global level. The twenty minute epic, aggressive and brutal but not repetitive or predictable, is jaw dropping and terrifying as a coda to the story, depicting trials endured in the afterlife and reflecting empty pursuits of life. Through every trial there is a search for a beacon of light that’s forever elusive. There is nothing but the infliction of anguish upon those in power who exploited the innocent. As we travel from the abyss to purgatory and finally to the higher realms of the spiritual world, the horrors we witnessed are indelibly imprinted in our minds and we question whether we’re truly saved from the horror of the physical world. –Dave Wolff

Travis McKenzie: Vocals
Ritchie Randall: Guitar, backing vocals
Mike Jilge: Bass
Todd Morrison: Drums (tracks 1-5), vocals (track 2 chorus)
Luke Randolph: Drums (track 6), vocals (bridge section Paradise)

Guest credits in order of appearance:
Carlos Ransom: Vocals (Blueprint, Go Murder, Pray, and Die)

Depart From So Much Evil song guests:
Annie Brown: Cello (Inferno)
Doug Dicharry: Tuba, trombone (Inferno, Paradise)
Tony Angelopoulos: Guitar orchestration (Inferno, Paradise)
Eric Sweet: Narration
Kam Lee: Vocals (Inferno)
Curran Murphy: Guitar solo (Inferno)
Tommy Stewart: bass (Purgatory)
Dennis Reid: Percussion (Purgatory)

Track list:
1. Blueprint For An Early Grave
2. Slayberry
3. The Cryptid And The Iron Bird
4. Brainstorm
5. Go Murder, Pray, And Die
6. Depart From So Much Evil (a. Inferno, b. Purgatory, c. Paradise)

CD Review: GRAVEHUFFER Your Fault (Swamp Metal Records) by Alan Lisanti
Video Review: GRAVEHUFFER Kill For Sport (Animated video) by Dave Wolff
EP Review: GRAVEHUFFER "Demon Face/Stalingrad's Cross" (NoSlip Records) by Alan Lisanti
Full Length Review: Gravehuffer "NecroEclosion" (Black Doomba Records) by Corban Skipwith

Interview with GRAVEHUFFER by Dave Wolff (2016)
Interview with Ritchie Randall of GRAVEHUFFER (second interview) by Alan Lisanti (2019)
Interview with Ritchie Randall of GRAVEHUFFER (third interview) by Dave Wolff (2020)
Interview with Ritchie Randall of GRAVEHUFFER (fourth interview) by Dave Wolff (2023)

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