Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Graviators - Motherload - Album Review

Album Type: Full Length
Label: Napalm Records
Release Date: April 8, 2014


Leif’s Last Breath – Dance of the Valkyrie
Narrow Minded Bastards
Bed of Bitches
Tigress of Sibriria
Lost Lord
Drowned in Leaves
Eagles Rising
Druid’s Ritual

The Band:

Niklas Sjöberg: Vocals
Martin Fairbanks: Guitar
Johan Holm: Bass
Henrik Bergman: Drums


The Graviators was formed deep in the woods of southern Sweden in 2009, with a vision to write and record music inspired by the sounds of the great rock ‘n’ roll groups of the 70's. With a mix of heavy, yet melodic riffs, that will take you on a trip back in time, when bands like Black Sabbath and Pentagram took heavy rock to new heights, The Graviators caught the ear of Swedish label TransubstansRecords who signed them in early 2009. On December 11th, The Graviators self titled debut hit the stores. Their first music video, for the song Back to the Sabbath, was shot by renowned music video director Thomas Tjäder who have made videos for In Flames, At The Gates, The Haunted, and Soilwork etc. The band was featured with the track The Magician, which also appeared on the vinyl release, on the Planet Fuzz compilation Cowbells & Cobwebs. In 2010 Dutch label Clear Spot/ Headspin Records released the album as an exclusive double splatter vinyl. The artwork for this vinyl release (and the 2nd press of the album on CD) was made by the incredible artist Vance Kelly.

In December 2010 they had the great honor of supporting the American doom legends Saint Vitus on their European tour, which took the bands through eight countries.
2011 saw the release of a vinyl split with Swedish/Norwegian band Brutus, a 14-minute epic called Druid’s Ritual. The track was mixed and mastered by Henryk Lipp, who has produced records by Thåström, Millencolin, Union Carbide Productions to name a few.

In September 2011, The Graviators entered Studio Berno to record their second album, entitled Evil Deeds. Producer Berno Paulsson have produced such records as Spiritual Beggars "Another way to shine" and The Haunted "The Haunted made me do it". It was recorded with analouge equipment, for that retro feel! The record features Petrus Fredestad on Hammond organ, Wurlitzer piano & Synths. Petrus was also a guest musician on Graveyards album "Hisingen Blues". Evil Deeds also featured the incredible artwork by Vance Kelly.

In late 2011 The Graviators signed with Napalm Records, and in august of 2012 Evil Deeds was released worldwide to positive reviews. The video for Häxagram was done by Thomas Tjäder. The band also signed with the Sound Of Liberation booking agency, and in october of 2012 The Graviators took part of SOL's european tour called Brainbanger's Ball Vol. 2, along with Brain Police, Greenleaf, and Mirror Queen.

In october of 2013 the band once again entered Studio Berno to record their third album, entitled Motherload. It was engineered, mixed and mastered, analouge all the way, by Berno Paulsson.
The record features once again with Petrus Fredestad on Hammond organ, Wurlitzer piano & Synths.
The artwork for the album will be done once again by Vance Kelly, and it will be out March 28th 2014 on Napalm Records and it's subsidiary Spinning Goblin. 


Again, pardon me for only discovering The Graviators with their upcoming album Motherload set for release on April 8th, 2014. I got very excited about what this band was about when the first single on youtube started floating around the internets a couple weeks ago, so when given the opportunity for review I was all over it. What I didn’t know was what I was getting myself into. Motherload completely blew my mind from first listen through present time where I still try and dedicate at least one listen per day.

The record starts off with a swirling riff blowing doom clouds in from the misty mountains. The day begins to turn to grey as the throaty and muscular vocals spew out like acid rain as the storm of riffs leads into classic metal guitar soloing. The rhythm holds consistent with a Sabbath pattern, mixing both Ozzy and RJD vocal styles into one bastardized cocktail of commotion.

I'm a sucker for guitar solos as some of you may already know. Especially when they are strategically placed amongst heavy stoned out doom riffs. The riffs are colossal and seem to hover effortlessly like morning fog on a frosted landscape.

Narrow Minded Bastards will surely have critiques making the Sabbath comparison. I would not argue, but in all honesty I'm with the group that is tired of Sabbath comparisons for every heavy riff and vocal cry that remotely resembles a Black Sabbath chord, if there is such a group. Sure, Black Sabbath was the founder and forefather of the style but I'd like to move on and talk about today's crop of demonic riffsters. Not that I don't like Black Sabbath, that's not even close to the case, but honestly I've listened to Sabbath enough and I'm over the old and all about the new. That said, these guys sound like a modern stoner version of Black Sabbath (oops), or for a current comparison, imagine a mix of The Sword and Graveyard.

Back to
Motherload, and a motherload it is. 9 tracks clocking in around 74 minutes is not an easy task to conduct. However, The Graviators make it easy on the ears to listen through to the end. Lately these long epic albums have been getting under my skin, pumping my veins full of their addictive powers like crack on a whore. It’s meth for music nerds, more commonly known as musicaphedamines. They will take you down in the deepest gutter, rip the food from your children’s plate and leave your wallet with friction burns from transactions required to get your next fix. It’s the way it is. Many a respectable a man have fallen victim to the powerful drug. Motherload is a very powerful strain, one hitter, tried to quitter, but got hooked.

Bed of Bitches is the shortest song on the album at 5:23. That's longer than the longest song on many albums. Bed of Bitches continues the wicked vocal moans, rumbled with mountainous riffs comparable to The Swords eminent debut Age of Winters.

Tigris of Siberia showcases a long-winded psychedelic intro leading into a NWOBHM style melody which makes me all warm and fuzzy. The song is rather crisp and metallic like Iron Maiden or Judas Priest without the theatrics. Classic metal served up with a side of pot brownies. No shortage of meaty riffs sure to buzz your brain into ecstasy.

Lost Lord is perhaps my favorite on the album. The slow burning, delicate introduction is the perfect intermission to let the body rest until that chorus comes cruising in and electrifies the senses causing that sought after spine tingling sensation. Seriously that chorus ecstatically erects the hairs on the back of my neck and shoulders and puts the mind at ease as it morphs into a multi-minute trippy classic rock-esque solo like something off a Doors album then closes up with the same superb chorus line, kicked up a couple more notches. Lost Lord is a beautifully executed song.

Motherload seriously blew my mind, although I'll admit I'm new to the band with no preconceived notions or expectations other than the video released earlier in the year for the song Narrow Minded Bastards mentioned above. So maybe this album sucks balls and they gave up their hardcore heavy doom roots for a more commercialized approach like so many other accusations of bands made by narrow minded bastards? Luckily Motherload sounds excellent in its own right, regardless of what they've released in the past. And by the way, this in no way sounds commercialized, at least in a negative context. I suppose that an album this good suggests I should backtrack this bands discography? Since this was my first taste and for many of you out there I imagine it's your first taste as well, and it tastes good.

The Graviators have conducted one of the most compelling albums of the year in my book. If you're a fan of classic heavy metal mixed into a stoner/doom base such as bands like The Sword and Graveyard then look no further. Soloing is unbelievably wicked. At 74 minutes long there's bound to be some filler and I'd have to say that song 8, Eagles Rising may be the only weak song on the album, and its actually a pretty awesome song, just a bit more on the forgettable side compared to the rest of the tracks.

Pre-order this album now or at least give it a shout when it's released. I pre-ordered my copy of the limited edition (100 copy) 2LP vinyl from the Napalm Webstore (choice of yellow or blue, I went with the blue) last night. It may have cost me $41 with shipping, but when you come up on some this this spectacular you fall victim to the addiction and wait for that PayPal statement to haunt your families college savings into circular wax form.

Until then you can slobber all over the video of
Narrow Minded Bastards on youtube or get involved and start writing reviews for cool ass blogs like The Sludgelord and get sent digital promo copies. Hey, it triggered my worn out wallet to fork out big cash to buy the physical. The Graviators -Motherload WILL be in the year end best of running, mark my words. Fantastic album!

Thanks to Jon and Mona at Napalm Records for sending us a promo to review.