Album: The Deathgate – EP
The year is 2017—heavy music feels as though it has reached an all-time high, a peak of creativity and density as far as noteworthy releases go. Boundless bands preach brutality bold enough to shatter the earth—technicality terrifying enough so strike terror into even the hardest hearts. Some of these boasts are hollow, with albums that satisfy but fail to instill the effect they aim for. Some others come close but still fall short of their mark—heavy, sure, but nothing that doesn’t grow old after repeated listens.
Then, there are the elite few—the artists who have perfected their craft to a point of unholy oppression. Artists that use their instrumentation and immense vocal dynamics to open a figurative portal and transport the listener into a hellish, horrifying realm of ravaging aggression. Australia’s Gravemind are one of those bands.
The Deathgate, Gravemind’s sophomore EP, is a lacerating blend of technical death metal and stone-splitting deathcore. A distinctly down under effort that takes everything the global heavy music community knows about Australian deathcore and amplifies it, The Deathgate is a devastating display of deathcore prowess with tasteful technicality and bleak atmosphere both—making it a world-ending release in its own right.
From the first moment of The Deathgate, Gravemind stop at nothing to unleash living Hell upon the listener’s head. With segments reminiscent of Oceano’s groove-tinted, extraterrestrial evisceration and others that seem akin to countrymen Aversion’s Crown, Gravemind draw influence from a variety of contemporary crushers and put their own streamlined spin on things to make The Deathgate somewhat familiar, yet new and exciting at the same time. Percussionist Raymond Martin murders his role behind the kid, with unstoppable hands and fleet feet that provide a fluid and groovy foundation for every track Gravemind rain down upon the listener. “Eschaton” is an eviscerating example—while the releases title track sees Martin’s feet at their fastest throughout the entire release. Martin is a dynamic and technically savvy drummer who knows when to add insane fills and odd time signatures (“Human”) and when to drop the act and go right for the throat (“Deadspace”). Martin’s prowess is matched by bassist Josh Renjen, who may not steal the show on The Deathgate, but ensures that Martin’s kick drum is intensified during the stuttering, stop-and-go breakdowns on “Echo,” yet works to add fluidity to the spastic transitions on “Anaesthesia.” Where Renjen’s role is integral, it doesn’t stand out more than needed—that remains up to the three-headed hydra of hectic, hellaciously talented guitarists that make up a bulk of Gravemind’s ranks. Riffsmiths Damon Bredin, Michael Petritsch and Aden Young make the listener take back every time they might have said “three guitarists in a deathcore band is too much.” The second single, “Echo,” in an of itself remedies that, as the album’s outright most technical and densely layered track. Meanwhile, “Human” is dreary and dissonant and “Eschaton” features a haunting, darkly blackened segment that would fit on a Dark Throne or Burzum record. This trio is as tightly knit as they are talented—making every second of shred and sinister brutality pure bliss in a roundabout way.
It would take a true vocal dynamo to keep up with Martin’s footwork or the furious fretwork from Bredin, Petritsch and Young—and fortunately, Gravemind’s Dylan Gilles-Parsons happens to be one. Proficient in just about every range one can fathom, Gilles-Parsons punishes the listener with pure, piercing shrieks (“Anaesthesia”) and odd, throaty and raspy roars (“Eschaton” and “Deadspace”). Gilles-Parsons even recruits Alpha Wolf’s Aiden Ellaz on “Echo,” which—while it does add to the murderous dynamic of the epic installment on The Deathgate—isn’t even truly needed due to Gilles-Parsons’ all-consuming range and limitless stamina. Track after track stands as an unshakable testament to his skill—“Anaesthesia” shows off low, murky growls and “Human” sees raw, rough mid-range expertise taking charge—with not one second on the EP causing the listener to question Gilles-Parsons’ talent. Combining a comprehensive range with solid writing and impeccable stamina (and a unique voice, which is crucial in a time of hundreds of sound-alike frontmen), Gravemind’s frontman is simply one of the best, and it would seem as though the world is starting to recognize it.
Intelligent and intense—that is likely the best way to describe Gravemind should someone need a reason to check these talented tyrants out. Whether you want to refer to them as a more straightforward Aversion’s Crown or a shreddier Oceano is the dealer’s choice—they both sort of fit—but the best way to convey just how crushing this band is would be to simply listen and lie in wait as The Deathgate opens and consumes you whole.
For Fans Of: Aversions Crown, Slaughter to Prevail, Oceano, Shadow of Intent, Temple of Athena
By: Connor Welsh