This Graveyard article was written by Josh Hummerston, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse
This September Swedish rockers Graveyard returned with their fourth full length album since their inception in 2006, bringing a salivating mix of rock, blues and metal to the table.
With other revival bands such as The Temperance Movement, Rival Sons and Blues Pills spouting various degrees of success in recent times, Graveyard have further advanced the movement through their raucous and ready brand of blues rock. Although bands of such a calibre are often accused of contributing to the ever increasing pool of simulacra that has oversaturated the modern rock climate, Graveyard remain diligent in their quest to produce real and genuine music that not only emulates their forebears, but seeks to be just as authentic and revered.
With a sound that implies the band as the illustrious lovechild of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, the Gothenburg four-piece make off to an explosive start with opening track ‘Magnetic Shunk’. Bluesy guitars fritter amongst groove driven drums whilst vocalist Joakim Nillson shrieks and cries with a voice that expresses both charisma and a timeless sensibility.
This type of sound is typical of Graveyard and is expressed amongst their entire back catalogue, making for an already definitive and recognizable cosmetic. Although this fast upbeat bluesy rock and roll type shtick makes up for the majority of ‘Innocence and Decadence’, the band are not entirely limited by this, providing a varied spectrum of dynamics, tempos and stylizations.
As ‘Innocence and Decadence’ progresses the obvious aforementioned twin themed agenda slowly becomes more apparent. A split (albeit uneven) of raucous and ready rock songs and more subtle numbers provide the thematic outline for album.
Songs like ‘Can’t Walk out’ and ‘Hard-headed’ happily fulfill the Swede’s trademark upbeat, boogie orientated, debauch laden rock ‘n’ roll; whereas ‘Exit 97’ and ‘Stay for a Song’ portray a softer and more downbeat variance to the previous, showcasing more the extensive vocal capabilities of Nillson, proving him an accomplished and versatile vocalist.
Whilst by no means as energetic or gloriously frantic as their other material, the songs retain a charming and unexpected yield from an otherwise full throttle album. This is immediately evident on track ‘Too Much is Not Enough,’ in which the usual gravelly wail of Nillson subsides into a silken smooth crooning that wouldn’t sound entirely out of place on a Motown record, despite an ever present distorted and rattling guitar.
Whilst the band’s enjoyment factor may stem from their nostalgia based derivative, it’s hard to argue that the group do sound just as good as, if not even more convincing than, some of their forebears. Though the band breathe life into a bygone golden era, it’s hard to imagine Graveyard producing anything else than what they’ve already conjured. In other words, the very niche in which they sought to reciprocate seems to be the very force that constricts and confines them to the rudimentary and pre- defined paradigms of the genre.
Graveyard are undoubtedly skilled and proficient in what they do, effectively creating a solid album of unruly rock ‘n’ roll numbers, speckled with enough intriguing nuances to make them an exciting and relevant band. The only problem remains is that despite consistent strong releases there seems to be no room for expansion or progression to make them the authentic and original band they so desire to be.
‘Innocence and Decadence’ is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.