Graves of Valor Salarian Gate

Made up of former members of Through the Eyes of the Dead, South Carolina's Graves of Valor offer a solid debut full-length with Salarian Gate. The band's sound is within the same vein as the Black Dahlia Murder and early Through the Eyes of the Dead, mixing modern death metal with thrash elements. The album starts strong with an intense title track and stays that way throughout with extreme guttural vocals and chugging thrash attack riffs. However, many of the tunes on Salarian Gate have a very different, almost progressive sound. "Pestilence" is one of the fastest tracks on the release and contains unrelenting drumming, guitar solo shredding and vocals that take on more traditional Suffocation-style death metal growls. The beginning of "To Breathe Blood" has a double-bass drumming groove and down-tempo guitars that transition to intense speed. "Locusta" contains the fastest guitar work, while album closer "No Gods Left" slows the tempo down and steers toward a doom metal vibe. (Relapse)