Graveripper
Seasons Dreaming Death

HOLY SHIT did I need this album in my life right about now.

A couple years ago, Graveripper dropped an EP that, though fairly raw in its delivery, showcased a ton of potential in these thrashing Indiana maniacs. Radiated Remains packed more killer riffs in its brief 20-minute onslaught than a lot of bands can dish out in a full album (and the first of its 6 tracks was basically a throwaway intro, making it even more impressive). Since then they appeared on fun little 4-act split alongside fellow Indiana thrashers Wraith, Blackened Punks Black Knife and Russian Blackened Speedsters Unholy Night and, frankly, they sorta stole the show on through sheer force of will (and friggin’ gnarly riffs. Did I mention these dudes can lay down a goddamn RIFF?). With all this said, I don’t know how or why their debut full length kinda fell off my radar (it’s been a long couple years…) but, whatever. It’s here, and it fucking rules. So hard.

Forgive the blunt, undignified phrasing but, what can I say? Like a really greasy, fatty cheeseburger, some things just don’t need to be dressed up to get across how awesome they are. Fuck a plate, just grab that cheesy lard bomb and go to town like a dang caveman. From the get-go, Graveripper is laying every single inch of their Thrash ‘n Roll attack on the line, with first track “Into the Grave” very much giving a hefty nod to The Crown‘s iconic album opener “Deathexplosion” from Deathrace King, slinging the same sort of fuck-all attitude that made their early work so beloved.

And it’s certainly not the only track leaning into that particular vibe – with that mix of full-throttle thrashing fury and sneering punk rock attitude showing in spades on the likes of “Divine Incantations,” and “Seasons Dreaming Death,” where vocalist Corey Parks barks out a blood-boiling performance that lies somewhere at the crossroads of Johan Linstrand’s unhinged, early-career lunacy, and Athenar’s (Midnight) gruff, no-fucks given command. All this while simultaneously ripping alongside co-axe man Keegan Hrybyk in an ceaseless barrage of scathing riffs that would make Gary Holt need to take a breather. I already need a nap.

Season Dreaming Death even has one of those iconic three-song runs a la The Crown‘s “Rebel Angel,” “I won’t Follow” and “Blitzkrieg Witchcraft” (or feel free to bring your own favorite trio to mind) that can turn a great album to one of legend, in this case coming from the positively nuclear back-to-back-to-back haymakers in “Premeditated,” “An Influx of Fear” and “Resist Against the Light” which, to describe as simply as possible, shows what might happen if The Crown, golden age Slayer and Power Trip threw an ungodly mixer, blacked out, and woke up with an unexpected, hot inverted-cross bun growing in the oven, so to speak. I’m not 100% sure which one is carrying this Hellspawn or which one is technically the father in this ridiculous scenario, but lets just say everyone’s DNA got in on the mix, and I defy anyone to tell me that marriage of ingredients doesn’t sound grossly appealing. And it’s not like the band lays off the pedal following that depraved threesome, because “Red Skies,” “And I Curse Reality” and closer “Only Coldness” go just as friggin’ hard, effectively bringing the album to a close without a single lame duck to be found from start to finish.

The true charm and secret to the success of Seasons Dreaming Death comes simply from how much freakin’ fun it is. I have listened to and reviewed a pretty good chunk of records in 2023, many of which have been nothing short of astounding – records I know I will be listening to for a hell of a long time – but until Seasons Dreaming Death came along, I can’t think of any that were quite this much of a pure joy to listen to  – that perfect mix of ferocity, talent and songwriting chops, but not so serious that you need to spend a whole lot of time thinking about it. Beyond what is genuinely some fucking brilliant guitar work from the aforementioned duo of Parks and Hrybyk, the absolute clinic put on by drummer Jacob Lett cannot be overlooked. It’s a workout alone to keep up with the general speed of this thing, but the agility to stop on a time and transition from sheer blasting, to classic 2-step grooves, to everything else he follows flawlessly with perfect timing and cadence is incredibly impressive. And can we talk about Chris Pilotte’s bass tone?? We’re gonna talk about that bass tone. It’s fucking delicious – like if Frank Bello were gifted with Beelzebub’s own personal bass rig and and asked to use the bellows of hell itself to reverberate the filthiest lines he could come up with. The steel-cable-strong foundation Pilotte lays down on the killer bridges and 2-steps of “Resist Against the Light,” and “An Influx of Fear” elevate the experience to a whole other layer. If Graveripper is that grease-bomb burger I mentioned earlier, that bass tone is the thick slabs of center-cut bacon laid on top that make it the best (and maybe last. Hi, cholesterol!) culinary experience you’ve ever had.

I don’t mean to keep harping on my comparison to The Crown, but at the end of the day, that’s exactly what Seasons Dreaming Death immediately makes me think of – that Graveripper are the band that I wish the second coming of The Crown would have been for getting on well over a decade now. Their early work will always hold some of the more special places in my heart (and for what it’s worth, you should absolutely check out the recent reissue of The Burning and Eternal Death), but now it seems I may have the modern replacement I need to get that same feeling again. This album is a goddamn blast, and it’s your loss if you don’t get in on this hellacious joyride ASAP. The kings of Thrash ‘n Roll are dead. Long live the new kings. All hail goddamn Graveripper!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
September 13th, 2023

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