Where Vultures Know Your Name
Review by Felix on January 3, 2021.
It's a bit embarrassing at my advanced age, but still and again I stumble across bands or receive recommendations that make me curious about their whole programme with a single song. In the case of Graceless, the can opener is called 'Here Be Dragons'. It is especially the verses that draw me into the canyons of the Dutch death metal disciples. They consist of a very charming mixture of a down-rolling part with vocals and an instrumental passage that serves up an excellent melodic fragment. This is bolts throwing, faces breaking music one can always listen to, not only just before dawn. Of course, the galloping chorus also leaves its mark and the solo makes sense, not just noise. Not to mention the tragic sounding break that connects the end of the solo with the beginning of the third verse. Fantastic tune!
Given this death metal at its absolute best song, I could not rest until I got the CD in my mailbox. Yes, from my point of view, the deadly genre will forever stand in the shadow of thrash and black metal. Nevertheless, this kind of metal has already proven its ability to make my life richer from time to time. As indicated above, Graceless continues the sound of Bolt Thrower to a certain extent and albums like the quasi-perfect “….For Victory” are definitely not the worst points of orientation.
Right from the beginning, the artists set the focus on ultimate heaviness and their all-encompassing brutality sees no reason to hurry up. The first track, 'Lugdunum Baravorum', drags itself heavily over deep terrain. With a density that suffocates all life, the quartet fights its way through churned-up ground. The solo allows something like a higher pitch to be heard for the first time, but otherwise it is all as sombre as the mood of the British forces on the evening of 01 July 1916 after the loss of some 20,000 soldiers on the Somme. Speaking of fallen British fighters, the melancholic melody at the beginning of 'Commander of Christ' is a clear cross reference to Bolt Thrower. However, the piece definitely develops into an independent Graceless number. Intensity and ruthlessness meet at the highest level and form a mid-paced smasher.
The dudes of Graceless are definitely striving for their own style. They are by no means the waste product of another combo. The headstrong beginning of 'Nine Days of Mourning' underlines this. A simple, calm guitar melody comes creeping into the listener’s living room and creates a menacing scenario. One can say the song suffers from repetition, because the simple melody line is repeated many times. However, I enjoy witnessing how hatred slowly hatches from the egg. This is all the more true in view of the album's excellent, powerful and clear production. The Dutch beat every possible sound hole to death. Bad for the holes, good for us.
Surely, a few details leave room for optimization, for example the solid, yet extremely generic deep vocals. Ultimately it does not matter. Where Vultures Know Your Name belongs to these albums whose name death metal maniacs should know, even though it is precisely the title track which falls by the wayside in the internal competition. But fans of formations such as Vomitory will not only bang their heads to the up-tempo parts of 'Warpath'. In this respect, I think not only the vultures would be pleased to know the names of these fans, but the pleasure would be mutual. Believe me, these vultures are definitely no budgies.
Rating: 8.2 out of 10932