Graveyard – Innocence & Decadence

Graveyard – Innocence & Decadence – 2015

Production: 7.5 – Moments of greatness mixed with a few flaws.

Songwriting: 8.5 – The usual Graveyard master-writing while heavily progressing.

Musicianship: 8.5 – It’s Graveyard. They are the modern masters of fusing blues, rock and metal.

Overall: 8.5

If the last decade has taught the world anything in the realm of music, it’s that Sweden produces the best rock ‘n’ roll. Ghost, Witchcraft, Vidunder, The Hives, Troubled Horse and so many more. The territory can confidently boast of the top tier vicious hitting rock that no other can.

September sees a release from the ever bluesy rockers Graveyard. This fourth effort might test the flexibility of the listener in a similar way The Sword has with their latest – High Country.

The album kicks off with “Magnetic Shunk” in classic fashion that reminds fans for a fourth time why Graveyard are the kings of what they do. Vocalist Joakim Nilsson offers nearly the best 3 minutes in the history of the band. From soulful lyrics to a fiery scream, Nilsson gives the song his all. However after the stunning first track, the second brings some question marks to the direction of the album.

It’s not that “The Apple & The Tree” is a bad song; and it’s not that it’s strange simply because it’s a low-key track. It’s just strange that for the first time, Graveyard gives us a song without a climax. The chorus carries the same tame tone that the verses hold. Only raising in small ways near the end that bring the song to a decent finish – it’s a song that requires many listens over a long period of time to appreciate it.

“Exit 97,” just like the previous song continues the album into an unknown direction. One could compare it to Lights Out’s “Slow Motion Countdown” simply for the pace and emotion however it’s clearly its own song. The bass isn’t fuzzy, it’s buzzy. On top of the buzz, the song features a synth that sounds of the 60’s. “Exit 97” goes through many breaks, pauses and pickups. It’s a strange journey, but upon reflection, it’s a journey the listener will be happy they traveled.

For the sake of familiarity, thankfully the following track returns to a more traditional format. Only reaching 2 minutes and some change, “Never Theirs To Sell” is a fast and ferocious trek. The track offers a guitar solo in the waning seconds and a highlight performance of drummer, Axel Sjöberg.

The album then takes another turn for the peculiar with “Can’t Walk Out.” It’s the longest song on the album, but by far the most adventurous of the eleven tracker. Maybe the song will grow on me at some point like “The Apple & The Tree,” but for now, it’s a wandering miss.

Graveyard has always been a soulful band. In addition to having heavy and hard hooks, the band gave some of the most inspiring performances to set the soul aflame. However “Too Much Is Not Enough” dives into blues in a way that causes the song to stand triumphantly by itself. From the lead guitar that dances around the heart, to a choir of gospel-esque singers, the song demands attention. One thing Graveyard is hammering into the fans at this spot in the album is that they’re able to progress and evolve as a band again and again in any direction they please.

The following song is something of a rarity. Bassist, Truls Mörck takes over vocals and gives a cleaner sound compared to Nilsson. “Hard-Headed” is a raunchy rocker despite the featuring of abnormally low vocals harmonizing with Nilsson.

The last two tracks end the album on a slow note. The former of the two – “Far Too Close” will have your head bobbing along with the drums and doomy guitar. However the final song goes even softer and sadder. The guitar tone is trademark Graveyard – a beautiful clean tone with each string and note ringing clearly. “Stay For A Song” like so many others on the LP, stand out and alone in the midst of all other Graveyard songs. The somber Nilsson sings on “Won’t you stay for a song? Won’t you stay one more song? Won’t you stay on more song?” The track seems like a song written to a lover or possibly the audience themselves with a lonely nature. The last 90 seconds of the track is mysterious, as it’s only filled with keys and a wandering bass guitar. Regardless, the song shines as a lyrical shiner and an emotional rollercoaster.

In conclusion, the album is an oddball, but a good one. Innocence & Decadence is a perfect example of a band trying new things and succeeding at them. Despite traveling a little too far into the atmosphere for my taste, the only lasting negative aspects of the album are held within the production. The ride cymbal is polarizing and gives an almost annoying tone at times. The buzz of the bass and bizarre low tones of the guitar are off-putting when they occur. Besides that, Graveyard shows adversity and talent throughout the eleven song effort.

Release Date: September 25, 2015

Tracklisting:

  1. Magnetic Shunk
  2. The Apple & The Tree
  3. Exit 97
  4. Never Theirs To Sell
  5. Can’t Walk Out
  6. Too Much Is Not Enough
  7. From A Hole In The Wall
  8. Cause & Defect
  9. Hard-Headed
  10. Far Too Close
  11. Stay For A Song

One response

  1. Pingback: Album Of The Year – Kadavar – Berlin | The Rock 'N' Roll Review

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