Graveland - _Memory and Destiny_
(No Colours Records, 2002)
by: Matthias Noll (8 out of 10)
Graveland, these days only consisting of Rob Darken, have certainly come a long way, from their ultra-grim beginnings in their demo days and _In the Glare of Burning Churches_ to an album like _Memory and Destiny_. The development or change is as massive as between the Bathory debut and _Hammerheart_, an album which is stylistically close to recent Graveland material. _MaD_ does not sound radically different from _Creed of Iron_. In fact, it could have been its second disc had _CoI_ been a double CD. Sure, the production here is slightly sharper, and you can find a couple more hooks (i.e., more memorable and ear-pleasing melodies), but that's about it. So, for those who are not familiar with present day Graveland, how do they sound? This is a fusion of Celtic/Pagan melodies and riffs with a dominant overlay of bombastic choir and keyboard soundscapes, comparable to the soundtrack of the first Conan movie, and a good dose of Viking metal a la _Hammerheart_ (minus Quorthon's cringeworthy attempts at clean singing or recycling Manowar riffs and lyrics). Fortunately, Rob Darken has not made the move towards 'real' vocals, and his trademark rasp is still in place and as recognizable as ever. The tempi on _MaD_ never exceed a marching pace, and the rhythmic structure of every song is a simple pounding, militaristic, onward-into-battle approach. The songs usually have a length of around 10 minutes and the main themes are sustained which generates a sense of timelessness and trance as if on a sheer endless march in military formation. For those familiar with the black and white movies of pioneering Russian movie director Sergei Eisenstein _MaD could be the perfect soundtrack when armoured knights meet in battle on Russia's endless plains and unstoppable armies celebrate another victory. While probably too long, boring, not grim and metal enough for some, these recent Graveland records are vivid images of times long forgotten turned into sound.

(article published 11/4/2003)


ALBUMS
7/27/2007 J Montague 7.5 Graveland - Will Stronger Than Death
1/29/2006 T DePalma 7.5 Graveland - Fire Chariot of Destruction
5/9/2005 J Montague 8.5 Graveland - Dawn of Iron Blades
12/5/2003 J Montague 7 Graveland - Blood of Heroes
11/23/2003 J Montague 9 Graveland - The Fire of Awakening
3/13/2001 A Wee 7 Graveland - Creed of Iron
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