Gravehuffer - Blasphemusic
It's nice to be reviewing something like this for once. It honestly is. I'm not claiming that everything I feature on here is so uber-serious, so sacred, so...pretentious, even, that a rollicking, irreverent, and utterly jammin' album like this one is alien. It is very much my kind of listening. But, in the huge sea of demonic, depressing, abysmal, and mostly solemn metal that makes up the bulk of the extreme metal world most of the time, a band like Gravehuffer coming along and making me pound my fists on my armchair with a grin is a wondrous thing. And I don't grin much lately. (Oh, he's sooo solemn.)
I'll just get out one thing I associate with this kind of punky, fun, yet churning and metal-as-fuck at the same time kinda thing out of the way. When I'm in a GWAR mood, I can also listen to these guys. I just get in a similar mood. It's that irreverence I mentioned. But to end at one comparison (and mind you, that's a major statement by yours-truly...as I'm a HUGE fan of the world's most infamous space aliens) would not be fair to either camp.
So, to further this inevitable praise, let's try and get away from that one comparison before I go too far. Besides, I'm pretty sure these guys are humans. And that is exactly what I find to be so appealing about the way this punky, thrashin', obviously classic-metal-lovin', extreme metal stew causes me to take it seriously as any other good metal album. It's got a relatable, maddened humanity to it that gives you a headlock like a whiskey-reekin' uncle that you still enjoy spending time with. Yeah, it's got a strong grip. And it's kinda disturbing to smell his alcoholic breath and hear his nasty mouth around your bewildered parents. But it's oh so exciting to know that the abomination is your friend. And us misfits love to relate to controlled moral chaos. You get it. And they get it. And the listener/band relationship gets YOU. Right in the gut.
I'm going to eschew going as far as individual song descriptions. It's best, in most cases, to leave a little to be discovered. I discovered a great equilibrium with this band. (And honestly, I'm surprised they are new to me. Afterall, we're from virtually the same area, being from/near The Ozarks. They're from Joplin, Missouri; I'm from a little Arkansas town a stone's throw from Branson, Missouri. That might explain that bit of a kindred feeling I get, despite being in somewhat different sub-genres with what we do.) There's raucous, kickass rebellion seeping from the punk underbelly of an otherwise metal beast. And, that means there's some raunchy humor emanating from the seriously tight structure. But this is no comedy album. Show it to your grandma and see if she laughs. Go ahead.
Another thing it is not is some neo-wannabe-throwback "crossover" like a lot of the supposed "thrash" coming out today. I mean, that's better than some things, but not good enough to be here on my site. I always say, unless I'm outraged (in which I rant vehemently), I don't waste my time writing about things I wouldn't recommend. And I'd recommend Blasphemusic. I'm about 3 years late to the party, apparently, too. But better late than never. This album has some flourishes of Dismember-esque Swedish death metal, with some nice Matti Karki-esque man-monster roars/screams/shout/growls somewhat akin to the "Indecent And Obscene" days, some black metal forays, lots of the aforementioned punky thrash to bounce it all off of, all the while contrasting a classic metal vibe with a genuine hardcore, nearly Murder Junkies abandon.
Just saying all of that felt weird, but also very right. And I don't feel like taking any of it back, as much as it seems like it shouldn't make sense. Also, they manage to cohesively pull all of that off without sounding like a trainwreck of overzealous anti-creativity. After it's all said and done, it really couldn't be called anything but Gravehuffer's Blasphemusic. And judging by what I've heard of their upcoming material, they aren't gonna slow the momentum any time soon.