Graveland - Official Website

Raise Your Sword!

Poland Country of Origin: Poland

1. Till The Final Death
2. Temple Of My Hatred
3. W Objęcia Smierci

Review by Felix on February 19, 2022.

Many bands and artists use their EPs for mostly useless experiments and material that no one wants to hear. Rob Darken is different. He plays on Raise Your Sword! exactly the same music that he has immortalized on all his albums. Whether he does this out of conviction or because he simply can't do anything else remains his secret. In any case, he mumbles and rasps to endless streams of guitars, which are accompanied by keyboards that are typical for Graveland and have become almost indispensable. It probably doesn't need to be mentioned that the solo artist considers varying the tonality of his vocals an unnecessary luxury and therefore he constantly growls in the same pitch. At least he resorts to his mother tongue for a change in the last piece. I don't understand a single word, but the sound of the words fits the music.

Also atmospherically the EP does not set new standards. The material creates the typical yet strange Graveland mix of moods. Sublimity meets menace, thunderstorm and divinity also find each other. It all makes sense somehow, because the melodies are sparse but meaningful, the musical approach is credible and the tracks are adequately recorded. The Wagnerian element is not destroyed by an overly rough production, nor does the release suffer from a polished or even sterile sound. The instrumental sequences in the closer definitely have rough edges, at least when the guitar has successfully fought its way into the foreground.

Of course, as is almost always the case with Graveland, one can argue about whether the songs were dragged out too much. On the other hand, the permanent overlengths clearly show that Darken is doing exactly what he wants to do. This cannot be held against him from the point of view of the desired artistic self-realization. Graveland is Graveland and nothing otherwise, not a shred of the material indicates anything else.

Those who love surprises should keep their hands off Raise Your Sword!. Rob really doesn't break out of his preferred and known schemes at any second. Thus, the 29 minutes resulting from the addition of the three miniature operas may be a dull affair for some. The permanently constant tempo, somewhere between dignified and soporific, is certainly not everyone's business. But we can be sure that it never was the aim of Darken to become everybody’s darling. Thus, his music is exclusively done for those who share his affinity for archaic, gallant and nearly lethargic sounds. This EP does not disappoint any friend of Graveland and this is an important circumstance. I wish we could say the same about all these EPs of those combos that like to demonstrate us “their other side” on it.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10