Gravewuerm - _Ancient Storms of War_
(Barbarian Wrath, 2000)
by: Matthias Noll (8 out of 10)
Gravewuerm from the US of America sound old. Sounding "old" these days mainly seems to have the meaning of either worshipping Black Sabbath, Celtic Frost or (German) thrash metal. While _Ancient Storms of War_ has no connection whatsoever to Black Sabbath or thrash, it sounds as if it could have been a record that got worshipped by Thomas Gabriel Fischer when he decided to use the pseudonym Satanic Slaughter. _Ancient Storms of War_ achieves no less than to plausibly come across as if it had a strong influence on the Hellhammer and Bathory debuts. The musicianship here is certainly nothing to get excited about: the guitar work borders on debility and the drummer is content with handling the most basic rhythmic challenges, while the bass simply follows the guitar lines. Still, the aptly named sinister foursome of Tyrant, Blood, Massacre and Funeral has created a rather unique and surprisingly impressive piece of work, which in its simplicity never exceeds what can be found on tracks like Venom's "In League With Satan". Short, raw, to the point, mostly in the slow to mid-tempo range, and grooving like Hell. A connection to what today is considered black metal can be made via the rasping vocal style, the ultra lo-fi recording and the buzzsaw guitar which rips and tears like Quorthon's hellaxe anno 1984. The fact that a couple of the sixteen short songs simply fade in and/or out gives this release an even more obscure atmosphere -- as if the material had been taken from demo tapes where some passages which couldn't get restored simply got left out. With their approach Gravewuerm almost border on parody, but what they created with _Ancient Storms of War_ isn't laughable. This is Neanderthal metal: no beauty, no finesse, no noteworthy skills, just a big, stinking half-ape half-human creature crushing your skull with a rock.

(article published 12/4/2002)


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