Asphalt Graves
The New Primitive

As I have said ad nausea, modern metal is almost entirely good. I am old enough to remember when bands would put a metal song – one song – on an otherwise hard rock album, or they would release a killer track and you would buy the album and it would be a shit-ton of filler. So when I get a record to review these days I am almost always pleasantly surprised at how much I actually dig everything.

Modern metal bands are consistent. You would be dumbfounded if, for example, you picked up the latest Nile album and found a power ballad or stadium anthem mixed in. And if you appreciate the production quality of track one, track 11 will almost certainly have that same quality. This is how metal bands give you value, ensure you are pleased with the entire record, and I see it as a natural progression and a positive force.

The downside is that a band that hits the happy medium of a given niche is almost never going to surprise you with anything they do. Semi super group  (Jason Netherton and Shannon Lucas are involved) Asphalt Graves is a happy medium…well, furious medium hitter. The New Primitive is a hardcore grinder of a record, pumped up with enough disdain and ferocity to leave a listener either satisfied or exhausted – or both.

But it is just that: a hardcore/grind album. It works perfectly in that niche. It has glorious riffs, blasting beats and roaring vocals. The band is Nasum tight and the production is crunchy and immediate. The songs are to the point, relentless and never overlong. The ethos is Rotten Sound dragging 80’s hardcore, and the record definitely pounds that ethos into your cerebellum.

Opener “Vulgar Theology” starts you off with a moshing riff, then leaps into a blast furnace. “Megalomaniacs” keeps the vibe alive, with a game of velocity pinball. And so it goes, track by track, in unrelenting 80’s-meets-aughteens deliciousness. “Stop Resisting” in particular really brings back memories of Verbal Abuse et al, with its creepy-crawling victimizer POV opening lines.

Again, though, nothing here will grab you and shake you any more than it already has on the first track. That is not at all a bad thing, but it makes it hard to give the record an enthusiastic recommendation. We live in an age of Cattle Decapitation, and the goal posts for what grind can aspire to have been moved. Being a consistently powerful, straight forward grind/core band remains compelling, if that is what you are after. As far as that goes, Asphalt Graves brings it.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris Sessions
August 12th, 2016

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