Graveyard Dirt – For Grace Or Damnation   Leave a comment

The Irish doom-metal band Graveyard Dirt came into being way back in 1994, recorded a demo and then quickly split-up only to disappear into the doom-metal void. The reunion came in 2007 when the band got back together and recorded the 3 track “Shadows of Old Ghosts” which surprised a lot of people including yours truly. It was a great EP that merge the trad-doom influences of Candlemass with the melancholic vibe of My Dying Bride, this is only my opinion however. 3 years later and they have returned with a 60 plus minute album titled “For Grace Or Damnation” and it would want to be good after all these years of waiting and thankfully, it is indeed pretty good but I can’t really put it above the earlier EP just yet. However, I can safely say, Graveyard Dirt have arrived and will conquer many a listeners eardrums with this epic of an album, epic in structure and monstrous in sound. Like the “Shadows of Old Ghosts” EP, they married the forces of traditional doom with death metal and wash it down with the melancholy of gothic-doom as some of this does have a “Paradise Lost” meets “Anathema” kind of vibe.

The album begins with “By Wind And Time,” an intro piece that neatly sets up the dark and pessimistic tone of the album before steam-rolling its way into “Daylights Wrath” which features some surprising aggressive playing for a doom metal band. These bursts of frantic aggression are short-lived of course, for this is atmospheric doom after all but these moments add unique and unexpected twists to the album. Paul Leyden proves himself to be a very good vocalist for doom switching between an abrasive, horse vocal style and gentle, almost spoken vocals. He also has a growl but it is not overused or abused but kept for when it’s needed for dramatic effect. “These Hands Defiled” is slow, churning and devastating with ear-splitting riffs and infectious melody lines. The same can be said for “Enslaved By Grief” and one of the major highlights of the album, “The Search For Solitude.” While the band is hardly original, they do have their own sound mainly from Leydon’s charismatic vocals which do express a range of emotions which prevents the album from ever becoming stagnant. Sometimes experimenting is not needed if you have the ability to write good concise songs and Graveyard Dirt do have all those skills intact.

The band bring out the big guns for the albums last track, the 14 minute “A New Day Fire” which is a perfectly balanced epic doom monster that flows wonderfully well for such an extended piece. The guitar work of Kieran O’Toole and David Reilly is mesmerizing and even though they are not reinventing anything, they are certainly masters of their craft. Special kudos also goes out to drummer Gary Sweeney who is a one man powerhouse behind the kit, pounding constantly but also knowing when more subtle playing is in order. The two tracks between all these are the weakest on the recording for my money but still solid. “Silence Awakes” and “Solace” seem more ordinary than the rest but maybe it is because the rest are so good. If you like some of Anathema, Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride’s tunes but find some of it too melancholic or fluffy, then Graveyard Dirt could be the band for you. They are still in the vein of those bands but for me, they seem to have a bit more meat to their songs than the so-called big three of goth-doom. I can’t really say this band are in the big league just yet but they are awfully close. This is an album that becomes more infectious with every spin, give it a listen – I think you will dig it……….8/10
Graveyard Dirt @
Ashen Productions
Graveyard Dirt @ All That Is Heavy


Posted January 6, 2011 by doommantia in Graveyard Dirt

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