Monday, 26 November 2012

Lord of the Grave - Green Vapour (album review)

I forgot where I heard about this one but when I found it I previewed about 10 seconds from the first track, heard the excellent Sabbath-like riff and grabbed this sucker up immediately.  Lord of the Grave is a two-piece (guitar/drums) band from Switzerland (I believe this is the first Swiss release in my library), the band plays a filthy style of sludgified doom riffs and monster grooves built from a solid blues foundation.  Green Vapour is their second album and first with Sam Wart on drums.

It's hard to imagine a more demented title to an opening track than "Raping Zombies", but if that's how Lord of the Grave choose to introduce themselves on this album, then sonically speaking, they are not wrong to do so.  Thick, almost pungent, sub-Electric Wizard tones rumble in from a fog of feedback.  The track shambles and stomps like a putrefying corpse leading to the verse which takes a wonderful turn.  The guitar matches the vocal line in the best blues tradition.  Halfway through the tempo picks up and Rob Grave (guitar/vocals) does a blues solo which sounds great in those low tones.  What can you say?  At 15+ minutes it's a ballsy choice for an album opener, but after several listens it hasn't ever felt like a long song, it feels like a song half its length.  I just don't know why on earth anyone would want to rape a zombie.

The song ends in a wall of feedback and leads directly into the title track.  A ringing, eerie melody downshifts into a fuzzy doom anthem.  Drummer Sam Wart has his standout moment on this track, driving the song forward and lending some infectious momentum to the track that is soon matched by bandmate Rob Grave.

"Horsepuncher" is not only my favorite scene from Conan, it's also a hyper-aggressive, slow building, shit kicker of a track that would make the titular character of the aforementioned movie drink mead, thump his chest, and throw the horns.  The lyrics during the verse consist of a single couplet "Apologize and you spit on me instead / I raise my fist, and I crush your fucking head".

The final two tracks are essentially a single composition split into two tracks.  "Mountain Rites" is yet another fuzzed out doom-o-rama, more of what the listener has come to expect at this point, but "00/15" shows the band in a slightly different light, those big riffs are still there, but Rob Grave sings and builds a wall of guitar noise that is reminiscent of the expansive soundscapes of Hawkwind, and remember they had a lot more than two guys in that band.  The song isn't a complete departure but it does offer a slightly different look from a consistent band on a very consistent album.

Overall, Green Vapour is a solid album that maintains a consistent feel from opening feedback to closing fade out.  There aren't any truly weak moments to speak of but there are a ton of standout moments and the album should really be listened to in one sitting to get the right effect, but each track stands on its own.  If what you're looking for is some good aggressive doom with riffs along the lines of Electric Wizard and a fuzz tone more akin to bands like Goya and Tombstones then look no further.

Highlights include: "Horsepuncher" and "Green Vapour"

Rating: 4/5

From: Basel, Switzerland

Genre: Doom, Sludge, Blues, Fuzz Rock

Reminds me of: Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Hawkwind, Goya, Tombstones (NOR)


1). Raping Zombies (15:17)
2). Green Vapour (7:52)
3). Horsepuncher (6:40)
4). Mountain Rites (7:54)
5). 00/15 (6:15)
Total Run Time: 43:54

Release Date: November 10, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Please don't rape zombies, you're gonna catch something for sure.

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1 comment:

  1. "I believe this is the first Swiss release in my library"

    How could I forget about Celtic Frost!?!?


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