Written by: The Administrator
The brand of doom exemplified by Russia's own Grave Disgrace is monolithic, plain and simple. The original prototype. The standard by which all are judged. In other words...this stuff is pretty blatantly cast from the Black Sabbath mold. It's dark and menacing in the sense of being produced in a time where a mere mention of the occult is enough to send tingles down the spine. It's gothic and ominous in a delightfully indulgent fashion--like unto watching a Vincent Price film during a thunderstorm, the rich atmosphere is oh-so comforting. This is traditional doom in it's purest sense, and while a lot of Sabbath or Candlemass knockoffs inevitably exist out there, I seldom encounter a band that nails the proto stuff so accurately and adequately.
Obviously, then, if you're looking for experimentation, it's time to look elsewhere. Nothing here is a surprise, from the pounding drums and omnipresent bass, to the fuzzy riffage, to the overtly Ozzy-esque vocal tone. Look to opening track "End of the World" for a prime example of what's to come: lumbering grooves wrapped in tepid graveyard mist, topped off with a healthy dose of easily discernible melancholic howls. It's a simple formula, to be sure, and tracks don't particularly differ from one another across the breadth, but Grave Disgrace succeed by embracing their strengths.
This entire album creates a listening experience that practically bleeds atmosphere--imagine, if ye will, a prototypical set built for the aforementioned gothic horror aesthetic. The distant clip-clop on cobblestone as a stagecoach approaches through dark pine forests. Cobwebb'd columns. Wrought-iron gates. Moth-eaten velvet. Secret passages behind Victorian portraits, leading, inevitably, to spiral staircases and dungeons riddled with sacrificial altars and horrific torture devices. I'm sure you're getting the picture. I, on the other hand, am getting carried away. Bottom line: music that transports you to a place and a time always wins ambiance points in this particular scribe's book, and Rest In Peace does so inordinately well.
If I do have a complaint, it is that several songs here do feel a little longer than merited by the idea they deliver. "Dancing On My Grave," for example, has an intriguing intro and a vocally aggressive bite towards the back half, which are delightful, but a minute or two trimmed throughout would have resulted in a more repeatable track. Generally, however, the compositions work well, with a particular emphasis on cathedral-ceiling'd refrains and fuzzed-out gloom. All told, if you're in the mood for some darkly doomy tunes of a traditional bent, look no further than Rest In Peace.
Grave Disgrace - Rest In Peace was released June 1st, 2020 from The Swamp Records
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!