Graveyard - The Altar of Sculpted Skulls

Posted on Friday, April 27, 2012

One of the more hidden treasures of the NWOOSSDM movement can be found in Spain where Barcelona’s Graveyard rest in festering slime. With only a demo, one proper full-length release, and a few splits under their belt, I hope to be forgiven for not being too familiar with the quartet. But if this 6-song EP —originally pressed on 12-inch vinyl from Doomentia last year, released on CD in 2012 by the fine folks at Pulverised— is any indicator, these Swedeath merchants are definitely capable of high quality, and I should get busy tracking down their back catalog (especially 2009’s split with the mighty Deathevokation). The Altar of Sculpted Skulls is not by any means a flawless recording, but they certainly know how to kick down a door. The opening title track is vicious and massive, boasting a fantastic replica of the vintage Sunlight sound. Dirty and rotten, like Saltrubbed Eyes cooked with Like an Ever Flowing Stream and baking soda, this song explodes with “Soon to Be Dead”-like urgency and a truly monstrous, sick-ass bass tone. Unfortunately the two songs that follow aren’t in the same league. These guys fall in love with a riff and then play it to death —an affliction I know all too well— which isn’t the best idea even if it’s a great riff… let alone mediocre ones that go nowhere. Still, even when the material leaves something to be desired, the vibe is always right. That early ’90s feeling is always undead and ever present. Instrumental “Cult of the Shadows” could serve as the outro to any classic, Autopsy-stained Swedeath masterpiece of your choice, yet it’s not an outro here. We also get the two tracks from the split with Terrorist as a bonus. Decent songs both, but nothing really comes close to topping the opener. The kind of track that mixtapes exist for. These guys may not have the chops to pull every song off, but they do play Death Metal the right way. File under “keep your eye on.”

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