Graveland - _Will Stronger Than Death_
(No Colours Records, 2007)
by: James Montague (7.5 out of 10)
It may not be stronger than death, but Rob Darken's willpower is certainly beyond reproach. Astonished to see the year 2006 pass without a peep out of the Graveland machine, I wondered if he had finally tired of releasing album after album of superficially near-identical music to an audience whose attention was slowly but surely waning. Of course I was wrong -- and glad of it, since for all his repetitive themes, Darken remains a composer of the highest order.

After the brooding nostalgia of _Memory and Destiny_ (2002), Darken appeared to abandon his search for a Wagnerian magnum opus and openly embraced the raw energy of his old black metal stomping ground. _The Fire of Awakening_ was a relentless boot up the backside of those content to bathe in the reflection of prior work, while _Dawn of Iron Blades_ and _Fire Chariot of Destruction_ saw Darken mastering his drum machines to lend majestic undercurrents to the driving rhythms. This trend continues on _Will Stronger Than Death_, whose percussive surges evoke visions of chariots rumbling across the land, plowing through armies and crushing the skulls of the fallen.

The production is surprisingly lo-fi considering Darken's accomplished recording technique, although during the occasional keyboard refrains the overall clarity improves. The relative obscurity of the guitar lines may frustrate the attentive listener, but as a mood piece _Will Stronger Than Death_ is another prime example of Graveland's grizzled charm.


(article published 27/7/2007)

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
4/11/2003 M Noll 8 Graveland - Memory and Destiny
3/13/2001 A Wee 7 Graveland - Creed of Iron
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