Graves of Valor
Salarian Gate

What’s not surprising about this release is that considering 3/5 of the band were in Through the Eyes of The Dead, Salarian Gate sounds like a Through the Eyes of the Dead album. What is surprising is that Relapse would release record that sounds like a Through the Eyes of the Dead album, considering the band’s loose ties to deathcore and metalcore.

Ultimately, it sounds like Relapse was trying to find their own version of Job For a Cowboy or even The Black Dahlia Murder, in that they signed a band that is playing death metal, but still has some undercurrent of ‘core’ and will appeal to some of the kids that enjoy JFAC. In reality though, Graves of Valor, (now without the more metalcore sounding “from’ prefix) are a superior act and deserve your attention, especially if you enjoyed Through the Eyes of the Dead’s Malice and Bloodlust.

At a curt 35 minutes, Salarian Gate (with some killer artwork from Relapse in house artist Orion) with its punchy Mana Studio Production (Hate Eternal, Through the Eyes of The Dead), gets right to it a rarely lets up, trying forcefully to let you no it’s a death metal record, dammit. Only piecemeal mid album interludes “Letter to the Blind”, “Diderot” offer any sort of respite and the band competently blaze their way through some tightly played and certainly enjoyable, if somewhat similar tracks like “Salarian Gate”, ‘Pestilence”, “The Clever Ape” to the Behemoth-ish “To Breath Blood”, “Locusta” and heaving closer “No Gods Left”.

The thing is, despite the solid guitar work and typically dual vocals of Damon Welch, the album blows by with no real “WOW!” or standout riffs (only “Sic Semper Tyrannis” came close), just 35 minutes of solid, high octane competence that seems unusually middle of the road and slightly trend hopping for Relapse Records.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 24th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Dana

    They are fucking awesome btw:P

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