Thursday, 15 September 2011
I can't exactly recall where I first heard of Hot Graves.
I know it was a year or so ago, and the thing that caught my attention was the name, making me think of the awesome Hot Snakes... but Grave-ier. This has got to be the worst intro to anything that anyone has ever written. But fuck it, who even cares how I got into this band. The point is, as always, the music.
A few months ago I ordered the compilation CD (a CD review! how un-kvlt! fuck off.) direct from the band, and was instantly enamoured by their mix of crusty D-beat and proto-Black Metal. I won't get into reviewing the demo compilation here, because like I said, I've had it for months and I love it, so it'd be a bit of an outdated, and very biased review. Needless to say, you should still pick it up from the band's merch store, if only for the eye-searingly pink design.
The reason for my rekindled interest in this band of Floridian 'bangers is that they recently released a 7" through the relatively new Greyhaze Records, complete with snazzy new logo courtesy of Vberkvlt (I won't get into how much I love his work yet again, read my older posts.)
So I snapped up one of them beauties... well, I won't say straight away because that'd be a lie. I'm broke as a joke pretty much all the time, but any spare cash I have lying around is usually spent working my way through the ten million distros I have bookmarked. ANYWAY, I'm being even more boring and self-centered than usual, the point is that I bought the goddamn record, obviously. It arrived with the scrawled message...
First up is, strangely enough, side A!
Buzzzzzzzzzz go the first few seconds of the punk-as-fuck riff that begins the first track Desecration Time, then with an UGH, the d-beat kicks in with a vengeance. When the vocals begin a short time later, they're noticably deeper than on the demo comp. They've mutated into a real putrid growl, which seems to permeate the track, to echo under the music, instead of over the top of the instrumentation.
Then this awesome section kicks in with the guitars and drums locking in to this tight little groove which has my head banging like nothing else. They run through this sequence once more, before the track descends into a plodding doom stomp.
Splashy ritualistic cymbal sounds and twin guitar melodies give some respite before things amp up considerably, the tempo building, gaining momentum, before the whole filthy mess explodes into this short sharp shock of a solo, a frenetic, spasticated thing that goes out with a bang. Damn, that was good! I'm actually gonna play that side through again. And again.
When I eventually get around to side B, my expectations are pretty damn high.
Baphomet's Revenge blasts out of the speakers like... I actually can't come up with a shitty metaphor for this. To be completely ridiculous, the mental image I get from those opening chugs is of some goat-headed demon biker riding a blood-fuelled motorcycle... in space. This song would make an amazing addition to the soundtrack of some Satanic b-movie. I actually can't describe this song in cold, clinical terms because it's just too much fun. Just sheer headbanging visceral thrills.
The second track on this side is a cover of Anti-Cimex's 'Make My Day'. I'm going to lose cool points by admitting that I've never taken the opportunity to familiarise myself with Anti-Cimex, despite them being a punk-patch staple. The cover track blasts past, much shorter than the band's own songs, and seems decent enough. With a few more spins, I might grow to love it enough to delve into the Cimex catalogue.
But for now, it's all about Hot Graves for me. As much as I love the demos, this 7" is a whole different beast. They've gotten tighter, yet somehow more sprawling in the range of styles they incorporate into their songs. To include Warrior-worshipping UGHs, neck-snapping d-beat, doomed marches, to blasts of guitar histrionics, and all within a single song, executed without feeling cobbled together, a mere pastiche, is no mean feat.
This 7" was recorded 2 years ago now, and has only recently seen the light of day. If the band were THIS good 2 years ago, I can't wait for their upcoming debut LP, Knights In White Phospherous.
Listen, buy, and dig Hot Graves (HA!) in the following places: