Artist: Young Graves
Album: Reset – EP
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be truly born again. Not in a religious sense, but in a true, in-the-flesh manner; to have a truly clean slate. Imagine how wondrous it would be to see the entire world without the jaded skepticism and cynicism we collect like lint as we age. As great as it would be, it is more or less impossible—at least in physical practice. There are things we can experience—drugs, meditation, and most importantly, music—that can emulate it, and the aptly named sophomore EP by Young Graves, Reset, comes very close. Earnest, honest, emotional and energetic, this Pennsylvanian melodic hardcore quartet reach out to the listener and ensnare the most youthful parts of them, assuaging the wear and tear on their spirit cause by old age, allowing youthful exuberance to shine purely once more.
Young Graves don’t attempt to win over the listener with empty promises—there is no over-the-top production or eye-catching album art speaking on behalf of the band: just emotional, enthusiastic musicianship. Percussionist Quintin Fernandez is the group’s foundation—kicking off “Grip” with bouncy, bold kick patterns that wind up into whirling, adrenaline-flooded two-steps and pummeling breakdowns that dominate “Unworthy” and “Violet Sky.” Fernandez doesn’t go out of his way win superfluous fills or tedious technicality–he plays from his heart, working side-by-side with bassist James Reilly to provide a solid, full-bodied and flooring low end that transitions from speed to soft atmosphere and ruthless aggression seamlessly. “Unworthy” and “Overwhelm” highlight this—as the two are lengthier songs where Fernandez barely slows down, just as Reilly can be easily heard rumbling along beneath the dissonant, harsh melodies strummed by guitarist Chris DiBella. DiBella riffs, strums and chugs atop the awesome low-end formed by Reilly and Fernandez with ease—catching the listener’s ear with clean, crystalline tones on “Violet Sky” while ripping up mountains with meaty grooves on “Grip.” DiBella—like Fernandez–doesn’t aim to dizzy the listener with shred or 5 BPM breakdowns; while he might not reinvent the listener’s perspective on melodic hardcore, he plays purely and precisely, reflecting emotion and energy both through his fretwork, serving his purpose perfectly.
Young Graves’ Reset is home to a vivid, earthy and poignant soundscape—with gritty grooves and breakdowns that contrast soaring, ethereal leads and atmospheric interludes. Throughout the entirety of the release, frontman Hector Sabino is the band’s anchor; roaring with harsh, raw mid-range yells that flow beautifully with the band’s instrumentation. Just like Fernandez’s percussion and DiBella’sriffsmithing, Sabino’s range isn’t game changing, however it is exactly what the listener expects and wants atop the band’s established musical dynamic. Sabino yells with a raw throat and exposed heart—from the first lines of “Grip” throughout the touching climax to “Violet Sky” and until the end of “Overwhelm.” While he may not be the next Dan Watson, he has stamina that would make African marathon runners blush, and lyrical honesty that will have the masses melting in the palm of his hand. Reset sees Sabino giving the heavy music community a peerlessly honest experience; nothing less, nothing more.
While Reset is as energetic and catchy as it is subtle and serene, it does fall prey to its own lack of length, and, even in spite of the production playing to the strengths of the band, it could still do with a little polishing. “Grip” especially seems to sound a little flat—with the cymbals decaying rapidly and lacking any lasting splash, and Sabino’s vocals overwhelming the more subtle nuances of the song. However, be it acclimation or tangible improvement in the mix, as Reset plays on, the listener learns to love the raw, sturdy, bare-bones style of Young Graves’ dynamic and production. Ultimately, the band—while only giving the listener a taste of their truest potential—capture the listener with their unfiltered and frenzied sound, gifting the genre with a refreshed and rejuvenated perspective on the world around them: a veritable Reset.
For Fans Of: Until We Are Ghosts, Lifelink, Hundredth, Capsize
By: Connor Welsh