Album: The Hateful One – EP
When it comes to heavy music—especially Australian heavy music—you can typically count on at least one thing: visceral, violent hatred. From Signal the Firing Squad to Thy Art is Murder—Boris the Blade to Aversions Crown—malevolence runs as thick and as hot as blood in the veins of the Australian music community—and Gravemind are the latest band to add themselves to the ranks of down under’s most diabolical. A crushing quintet that function as a furious force to be reckoned with, this Melbourne maelstrom’s latest EP, The Hateful One, is just that—a lesson in scathing, sinister hatred with influences that span the heavy music community worldwide. If you’re looking for a resounding gunshot-to-the-temple to send 2015 into the history books, Gravemind have it, and they’re ready to let it rip.
Maybe it’s just me, but there is something unique about the instrumentation from Australian deathcore acts that simply cannot be replicated. Maybe it’s the kangaroos, maybe it’s something in the water, but many of the continent’s most crushing bands have it, and Gravemind have it too. With mountain-erasing, meaty percussion, drummer Anthony Pallas leads the charge, sending The Hateful One ripping into the listener’s skull like a bullet. From the first crack of “Scriptures of Torment,” all the way through “Scriptures of Hatred” and in every track I between, Pallas is pure punishment. “Nagini’s Noose,” the EP’s strongest track, is a no-holds-barred display of Pallas’ skill—while his fills and fleet footwork also shine throughout “Scriptures of Hate” and “The Glass Purge” alike. Other songs—like “The Lowest Circle of Hell”—see Pallas slowing things down a bit, wavering away from blast beats and towards catchy, punchy patterns dotted with bouncy fills that are just relaxed enough for the listener to follow. Here, Pallas works excellent with the lowest and slowest of Gravemind’sthree guitarists—as the other two maintain their murderous dominion of riffing and grooving. Guitarists DaimienBredin, Michael Petritsch and Aden Young provide a persistently powerful trifecta of downtuned devastation. With “The Glass Purge” and “Nagini’s Noose” serving as the two more technically dense tracks and the others serving as excellent examples of harmonization between the trio of terrifyingly grisly riffsmiths, Gravemind’s three-pronged weapon of mass destruction that is Bredin, Petritsch and Young give The Hateful One more beef than a slaughterhouse, and they know precisely how to use it.
With a solid but slightly generic take on deathcore provided by Gravemind’s instrumentalists, attempts at dynamism must come from frontman Dylan Gillies-Parsons—who succeeds, somewhat. Gillies-Parsons is a masterfully talented vocalist with a strong range that isn’t quite exceptional—made up for by the fact that he is, simply put, a tank. Stealing the show with unremarkable endurance throughout The Hateful One, he even manages to outshine features vocalists CJ McMahon (if you need to know what band he’s from, you’re in the wrong place). While he may not have the range of Mark Poida on “Scriptures of Hate,” Gillies-Parsons certainly has the endurance and enough strength in his low, grisly shout (his forte) to keep up. Even considering his ferocious stamina, however, Gillies-Parson’s voice still isn’t quite enough to lift Gravemind out of their plateau, firmly establishing them as a talented band, but still one that needs growth in order to develop their own sound.
Maybe it’s simply CJ’s presence on “The Lowest Circle of Hell,” but the track sounds dangerously close to a B-Side from Thy Art is Murder’s Hate. Likewise, portions of “Nagini’s Noose” and “The Glass Purge”—great songs both—sound ever-so-slightly like the more tame moments from I, Valiance’s 2015 EP. Make no mistake—neither of these point to Gravemind’s release being bad, but if you’re reading between the lines, you’re probably picking up that it means The Hateful One isn’t a remarkably unique release either. Instead, it knows its strength and plays to it: pure, skin-shredding, flesh-melting hatred. What the band lack in originality, they partially recover for in fun, furious and ferocious brutality—with, again, “Nagini’s Noose” playing as the crowning example. Punchy, precise—yet immense and overwhelming—this track sees Gravemind’s musicians thinking outside of their self-made box, and sees Gillies-Parsons making the most of his range. The takeaway is this: if you’re willing to overlook the fact that you’ve probably heard a lot of The Hateful One before, then you’re in for the bang that 2015 rightfully deserves.
For Fans Of: Thy Art is Murder, Aversions Crown, Signal the Firing Squad, Boris the Blade
By: Connor Welsh