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Graveworm - Collateral Defect review


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Band: Graveworm
Album: Collateral Defect
Release date: May 2007

01. Reflections
02. Bloodwork
03. Touch Of Hate
04. Suicide Code
05. The Day I Die
06. Fragile Side
07. I Need A Hero [Bonnie Tyler cover]
08. Out Of Clouds
09. Scars Of Sorrow
10. Memories
11. Which Way [Japanese bonus]

Graveworm is a band I stumbled upon a while back, looking for new black metal. Engraved In Black and (N)Utopia were the two albums by them I first heard; Engraved is melodic black metal with gothic touches to it, while (N)Utopia saw melodic death metal influences begin to ooze into their music. Collateral Defect continues this, containing even more melodic death than black metal.

Hailing from Italy, Graveworm has never stuck to a single sound for more than a couple of albums. This hasn't made being a fan of the band easy, as you either like their more gothic, pre-(N)Utopia stuff and despise everything after Engraved or you like (N)Utopia and beyond but are a bit off-put by their earlier works. (Disclaimer: Extremely generalized. This may not apply to you, picky reader.)

This album has a lot of buzzing, mildly uninspired, riffs and some sparse keyboard melodies. There aren't many true blast beats, but a lot of slightly-unimpressive speedy sections keep the music moving along. When the keyboard does come in, it does more to irritate than to build any form of atmosphere. The guitars are generally generic, but their riffing is groovy and catchy, and there are a few genuinely fine leads here and there, as in "Suicide Code" and "Out Of Clouds."

In short, the instrumentation is nothing to make you excitedly proclaim its awesomeness in the shout box, but it's not enough to make listening to the music intolerable. Heck, if you're in the right mood for it, it can be solidly enjoyable.

The real draw to the band is the great vocal performance. They alternate between deep death growls and raspy blackened shrieks. There's plenty of variety, and they always meld with the instrumentation perfectly, pulling the songs along. Vocals have always been the band's strongest asset, and this album is no exception.

There is, however, one song that decides to throw away Stefan's great voice in favor of a guest hardcore scream guy. "Fragile Side", unquestionably the worst Graveworm song ever, features whiny clean singing and authentically hardcore (mainstream hardcore, at that) screams mated with the normal vocals of the band. The song isn't even worth listening to for the time it takes to find the skip button.

Fortunately, right after "Fragile Side" come "Out Of Clouds" and "Scars Of Sorrow", two genuinely impressive tracks. Utilizing the keyboard much more effectively than any other songs on the album, they actually succeed in building a gothic-atmosphere and are unquestionably the climax of the album. Even if you don't like anything else on the disc, those two songs are definitely worth listening to.

Graveworm's made better albums. Hopefully, they'll make more of them, too. But if they don't reverse the trend towards melodic death, they'll soon be lost in mediocrity forever. That's the future, though, and for the present all that remains is to check out this album and decide if you like Graveworm's sixth opus.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8

Written by Sulac | 17.09.2011


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Guest review by
Silent Creeper
There were many Graveworm fans that did not like the new direction that the band took on the album "(N)utopia". Well I was not one of those, I think that (N)utopia is one of the best albums Graveworm have ever done. This is also the reason why my expectations before the release of "Collateral Defect" were pretty high. Unfortunately they were too high as well.

published 20.11.2008 | Comments (6)

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