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Review: Gravespawn - The Elder Darkness
The Elder Darkness

Label: Satanath Records
Year released: 2020
Duration: 52:00
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: September 23, 2020
Reviewed by: Luxi Lahtinen
Readers Rating
The Elder Darkness

Rated 4.2/5 (84%) (5 Votes)

Gravespawn have a bit of an interesting history, starting in 2004 in South Korea while sole member Reaver was serving his last year of military service there. Afterwards, he returned to sunny Los Angeles, California and went on to have a fairly productive career, making everything himself outside of the occasional guest musician. I recall hating their EP Inexorable Grimness, a release that tried to be grim but forgot to be good while doing it, but this release shows that they've improved significantly since then.

Rather than more bargain-bin Immortal worship, The Elder Darkness is a moody, well-composed release with atmosphere to spare and even a progressive edge to the songwriting. Reaver handles all the songwriting and most of the musicianship outside of Baalgrath on drums and Advorsus on some bass sections, and he's really grown into his own on both accounts since Inexorable Grimness. Rather than forcing a grim feeling in lieu of actual structure, here he crafts songs with a tight flow and a solid feel for mood that's aided by some tight keyboard work. Hell, he even incorporates them in a cover of Slayer's "Die by the Sword" in a way that's clever and gives it a distinct feel, which is no small feat on the face of it.

I wasn't expecting much from this, but I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of this album (maybe Inexorable Grimness was a fluke, who knows?). If you're looking for Black Metal that's more about atmosphere than it is blasting, this is worth your time.

Other related information on the site
Review: Inexorable Grimness (reviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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