Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Graviators - Motherload

I don't know how Niklas Sjöberg and Martin Fairbanks does it. Seriously! The singer and guitarist respectively in The Graviators are on to something supernatural. In 2012 they were an integral part of the band's second full-length, the amazing 'Evil Deeds'. Not resting on their laurels they recorded and released NYMF's second wax, 'From The Dark' in 2013 only to get started right away to create the new The Graviators album, 'Motherload'. Each of these three releases are absolutely stunning, so Messieurs Sjöberg and Fairbanks have a rare and incredible gift. An unseemingly bottomless well of musical greatness is what they are and they are only getting better and better and better! And joined as always by the their excellent writing partners and band members Johan Holm on bass guitar and Henrik Bergman on drums it doesn't get much better as this coven is truly ahead of the rest.

How can I put it? The Graviators anno 2014 is a completely different beast than the one that recorded 'Evil Deeds'. True, it still sounds like them but whereas the previous album was a full-on riff fest 'Motherload' is intricate, mature and full of awesome jam parts. Riffs aren't missing on the contrary, but this time around the band has kicked down walls and broken the shackles of genre definement. In all their heaviness tonnes of melody mixed with 70's occult rock has been added and this new-found freedom is something the guys revel in.

Two great examples of their new sound are 'Lost Lord' and 'Druid's Ritual', the two longest tracks on the album. Starting off in mid-tempo with a riff playing on top 'Lost Lord'  quickly turns into a slow blues tune in the verses while the choruses reverts to doomy realms.  A sense of psych gradually builds up especially in the amazing solos Martin Fairbanks play. But that is enhanced even further about 5 minutes in when session man Petrus Fredestad joins in on keyboards and subsequently the band lets it all hang down. Trippy, jammy and absolutely stunning is all I can say! 'Druid's Ritual' - this is a re-recording from their 7"split with Brutus -  moves along the same way but is leaning more towards the heavier, rockier aspects of The Graviators' sound. Still, there are long guitar solos and long spaced out jam sessions which suits the band so well. I just love it!
For those of you who desire the old sound opener 'Leif's Last Breath/Dance Of The Valkyrie' is right up your alley. This barnstormer is beginning of Ragnarök and sure enough it feels as the world is coming to an end. I'm pummeled, mangled and ripped to shreds as The Graviators clearly aim to maim. Another one in this vein is the somewhat Middle East-influenced 'Bed Of Bitches'. Coming on like a ton of bricks it simply annihilates as well with it's demonic fury.

I don't know if it's intentional or not but to me the direction the band has taken with 'Motherload' has greatly pronounced their fascination for occultism and withcraft as lyrical themes. It's always been there but now it comes forward a lot more and I truly believe it has to do with their change up musically. It allows them more avenues to present their songs whereas going at it heavy and fast all the time won't bring out horror, creepiness and terror the way it should. Now, more emotions burst forth creating a dark, eerie, horrifying vibe that is simply irresistible and stunningly beautiful.

The Graviators are a band I've followed and admired for a while, so when news filtered through they were about to release a new album I was obviously looking forward to it. Little did I know that 'Motherload' is such a fantastic wax. I've never doubted them but this is not what I expected, not at all. When it's this good however I become ecstatic and can't stop playing it!
If this is your first encounter with The Graviators you couldn't ask for a better introduction, although I strongly urge you to check out their other releases. Both 'The Graviators' and 'Evil Deeds' are great releases and you will see how they have grown with each wax. 'Motherload' is the band's coming of age and it promises so much for the future, so keep your eyes on these guys!

- Swedebeast

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