Published Apr 12, 2018Metal has always dealt in horror to some degree, but it's rare to find a band that live up to the tag and can instill true dread in the listener. It takes something special to do that, and so it shouldn't be overly surprising that a band of the same ilk as Portal and Impetuous Ritual manage to do just that.
In this latest album, the title of which is unrevealed, Grave Upheaval have tapped into a sound that is equally primeval and heinous. The parts become one as each instrument bleeds into the other, resulting in a noxious mud of sound, churning from the depths. Technicality is almost completely abandoned in favor of raw bestiality.
A byproduct of Grave Upheaval's style is the lack of overt song distinction, and a sense of whole songs blending together. For those seeking a veritable selection of tracks in the more traditional sense, there will likely be distaste, but Grave Upheaval seem to be more preoccupied with crafting a prolonged atmosphere that suffocates and terrifies above all else.
That being said, the band reward listeners in the long term. Glacial passages, such as in "II-IV," climb to abrupt storms of freneticism at the head of "II-V," elevating both songs in their impact.
But the real star is the vocal performance, as it becomes the chief, most widely utilized instrument. Guttural roars interplay with a kind of inverted, despairing operatic, all caught in the same echoing cavern of pure sonic monstrosity. (Nuclear War Now!)