Fire Chariot Of Destruction
Review by Felix on February 19, 2022.
Many or even all Graveland albums after Following The Voice Of Blood are comparable with a broad, ever-flowing river. Not very dynamic, but mighty, a little terrifying and always in smooth motion. Fire Chariot Of Destruction is a bit different. It uncovers a more intensive, darker and more aggressive appearance. The grandeur of Memory And Destiny is largely absent on the work discussed here. Instead, there are rumbling, sometimes pretty clumsy, almost somersaulting but still hammering drums and the more or less rough and non-transparent mix guarantees a sinister atmosphere which is aptly represented by the fiery artwork. The omnipresent dark scenario emphasizes Graveland’s black metal side to the disadvantage of the Viking influences.
Variety has never been the core competence of Rob Darken and it goes without saying that Fire Chariot Of Destruction also presents a very homogeneous, almost monolithic approach. Even the shortest song exceeds the six minute mark with great ease, because it is part of Graveland's corporate principle to create a hypnotic atmosphere. Due to this rule, repetition is allowed and tempo shifts are not forbidden, but they do not show up very often as well. That’s okay, because Rob's permanent murmur feels most comfortable in a consistent mid-tempo environment. In addition, it has a regulatory effect. Sometimes the drums seem to run too fast for the stoic guitars or, vice versa, the slow guitars seem to be too slow for the restless pounding drums, but the voice ensures a coherent performance.
Maybe the melodies are marginally weaker than on some of the mastermind’s further works. It almost looks like if they have been sacrificed on the altar of rawness. Every now and then, a tinge of chaos shimmers through the songs due to the more or less rhythmic drum inferno ('River Of Tears', 'Creator And Destroyer'). But the lonely fighter then steers against it in time. This is done by the resorting to a proven resource. Indeed, the Viking-like background choirs do not characterize the full-length, but they are not totally absent and add a melodic note. Frankly speaking, that’s logical. The tool box of Darken is too small to omit the use of one or two instruments. On the other hand, he did not seek his trademark sound over a pretty long period only to throw it away again afterwards.
No doubt, Graveland’s art is not the result of freely flowing thoughts, but based on a firm concept. One might consider this approach one-dimensional. But it is also a fact that all eight tracks of Fire Chariot Of Destruction reach a truly consistent and good quality level. In other words, Darken’s music is not broad, but deep. He delivers an album with a playtime of an hour, but without any fillers. It does not glitter with the comparatively polished and majestic overall picture of Creed Of Iron, Memory And Destiny and so on, but its pretty stormy and troubled shape likewise sprays a pleasant aroma.
Rating: 7.8 out of 10472