Loyal to the Grave
Still Climbin, Still Believin

And guess what? Still listening.

I won’t make this a secret, this was in my top 10 back when it was originally released in 2006, it still gets a lot of play and it will continue to get a lot of play until their next record drops, even more so with this re-issue with added live and bonus tracks from Australia’s Skull and Bones Records.

A recurring discourse is that Japan has awesome bands that are good at sounding like the sum of their influences, be it adding a unique, eastern twist. This though I feel is somewhat unfounded, especially when you consider the innovation and sheer uniqueness of bands such as Sigh, Corrupted, Acid Mother’s Temple, Ghost, S.O.B, Vomit Remnants and scores and scores of other bands in other genres.

Loyal to the Grave are perhaps the absolute best hardcore band in Japan right now because like those listed above, they have the ability to do what so many bands are incapable of doing. That being to accurately tap into the energies of their influencing forces, and then twist and contort them into a tapestry that is entirely their own yet is faithful and respective to those that come before, but most importantly, moves the sound forward.

Clearly, one can hear that the likes of Hatebreed, Earth Crisis, Another Victim and scores of other East Coast luminaries are the foundation of the brittle, brutal sound on here. But that is exactly what they are, they are the foundation. Hatebreed nor Earth Crisis, for instance would never come up with a 5 and a bit minute labyrinth in the vein of ‘Suffer going through life,’ nor dare to mix intricacy and melody into aggression as done on ‘Empty Sky, Close your eyes.’ Furthermore, even the breakdowns are a step above, given, I go batshit for the simplest breakdown, as long as it pummels, but those found on the title track, and the likes of ‘Footprint,’ are just something else.

Bring on the new one.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Benjamin DeBlasi
November 5th, 2008


  1. Commented by: bast

    Chequed it out, I like it! gives me strength!

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