Gravestone
Hollow Be Thy Grave

This fall/early winter, a group of excellent Swedish-styled/HM-2 death metal releases will be vying for your attention and hard-earned cash. Belgium’s Carnation,  Prosthetic Records’ 2023 foray into the genre, Xorsist, Australia’s The Plague, reliable German vets Endseeker, and the best of the bunch, the long overdue second album from Sweden’s Gravestone.

The 2018 debut, Sickening, from then, now-former Entrails guitarist Penki Samuelsson, was a punky, sneering take on Swededeath, with the year’s best guitar tone, and the follow-up follows suit with the same style and tone as the debut.

The 11 tracks run the gamut of longer tracks with thick, trundling grooves, and cantankerous canters delivered in short 2-minute-ish stabs. Both are fun as heck, and have a killer guitar tone (though maybe not quite as meaty as the debut), and the band is clearly not taking themselves too seriously with zombified themes and songs titles like “Mosh of the Living Dead” and “Gentlemen’s Club” (yep – it’s about zombie strippers) and lyrics like “Broken Bones, Broken brain, it will fuck my skull into smithereens, Pounding with the force of a train” (From “Dragged Through the Woods”). Chaucer this is not.

But man it is a raucously, rotten good time. From the galloping opener “Hunt of the Carcass” to the 6+ minute, varied closer “Lord of the Lash”, every song hits some sort of genre sweet spot. From feral, snarling numbers like “Its Back” and “Cannibal Curse”, to grooving hefty numbers like “Gentleman’s Club”, “Dragged Through the Woods” and “Bring out Your Dead”.

A worthy, followup to the sickening, and well worth the wait, and in my opinion, probably up there with Angerot’s The Profound Recreant,  and Come Sweet Death‘s Imperishable as one of 2023’s best Swedish-styled death metal albums.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 27th, 2023

Comments

  1. Commented by: J. Mays

    Kruelty’s “Untopia” deserves to be on any list of the best Swedish DM albums of the year.


  2. Commented by: Erik T

    Well, look like I need to check it out


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