Graveworm – [N]Utopia – Nuclear Blast 2005
Another brilliant offering in the gothic Death/Black Metal realm for 2005 comes to us from the highly talented GRAVEWORM. Polishing up their style and sound even more than the sharpness evident on 'Engraved In Black' from 2003. Brutal, melodic, and blistering come to mind when listening to this release. These elements are combined here at the best I've heard all year and especially for this band. Previous albums (5 in total) lacked overall continuity but here the flow and atmosphere are spectacular making this album explode from beginning to end.
Graveworm exude certain uniqueness but they are not completely original in sound or style but make up for this in quality. Lead off track 'I-The Machine' is very similar to CRADLE OF FILTH without all the high vocals. So your first impression maybe that they have ripped off C.O.F. but the other tracks do not really share that vibe. The melody and riffs contained within this little disc are phenomenal songs like 'Hateful Design' and 'Never Enough' just reach out and grab you by the throat. Slower pieces such as the title track and 'Timeless' (what a haunting keyboard line!) possess a hook not usually common in death metal. They are two of my favs off this disc. Assaulting riffs from Lukas Flarer and Eric Righi and the intense pummeling from drummer Mortiz Neuner make this album just totally rock. Nevertheless the overall integrity is held together by the vocal power and presence of Stefano Fiori, truly amazing. His near death vocals and black metal screams mesh perfectly with the melodic atmosphere and dark corridors provided by the rest of this powerhouse. Not to mention the sound is kept crisp with all the little nuances brought forth by producer Andy Classen (Dew-Scented, Krisiun, Rotting Christ).
This Italian 6 piece has made their best and most mature outing yet and are primed to continue on with the veteran skill and ability they now possess. Bask in the limelight for now but you will have to rise and produce big next time to top this offering, and honestly I can't wait to hear the result. Another must have!!