Wednesday 27 August 2014

Graves At Sea/Sourvein - Split EP (Review)

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 13/5/2014
Label: Seventh Rule Recordings

Graves at Sea/Sourvein Split EP CD/LP track listing

1.GRAVES AT SEA – Betting On Black 07:43
2. GRAVES AT SEA – Confession 07:34
3. SOURVEIN – Drifter 03:49
4. SOURVEIN – Equinox 03:06
5. SOURVEIN – Follow The Light 05:31


Two of doom metal’s mightiest of feedback-laden riff worshippers – Portland’s GRAVES AT SEA and Cape Fear’s SOURVEIN – have united in sound, mind and spirit for the ultimate split of earth-smoldering amplifier worship.

GRAVES AT SEA, whose contributions leave an eerie aura complete with tortured vocals, foreboding composition, and a general sense of dread, occupy Side A. Recorded by Billy Anderson, (Melvins, Sleep, Neurosis) “Betting On Black” and “Confession” finds the all-consuming sludge for which the band is notorious, flooding in amongst the tortured howls and shrieks of vocalist Nathan Misterek.

SOURVEIN, who’ve now existed for two decades of distortion, damage and total doom, solidify Side B. With three songs produced and recorded by Mike Dean of Corrosion of Conformity, these odes of heavy combine toxic riffs, grooves and just the right amount of psychedelic appeal.

Both sides were mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Beastmilk, Nails) at Audiosiege Engineering and will be released via Seventh Rule Recordings on both CD and LP on May 13th, 2014 during the two bands’ duel conquest touring Europe and prior to their appearances at this year’s edition of the illustrious Maryland Deathfest. The first pressing of the LP will be limited to 1000 copies and come available on 160-gram black wax with an included download code. Recommended for fans of Eyehategod, Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, and all things loud and fuzzy.


Portland based doom/sludge metal-ers (yes another doom band from Portland, is there something in the water there?!) Graves at Sea have teamed with fuzz ridden Sourvein for this five track down tuned offering. Released on Seventh Rule Recordings, mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Beastmilk, Nails) and topped off with some incredible artwork, both bands amalgamate to lay down their distorted riffs and twisted doom stylings, resulting in a must have metal record.

After splitting in 2008 Graves at Sea thankfully reformed in 2012, and returned revitalized in 2013 with new bassist Jeff McGarrity and drummer Bryan Sours. With only a handful of releases, and their only album being a re-issue of their demo ‘Documents of Grief’ they have gained notable cult popularity. And it’s not difficult to see why, as within the first minute of ‘Betting on Black’ I’m hooked. Nathan’s raspy tortured vocals are something to behold, immersing a blackened tinge to the sludgy chug of the guitar. As pessimistic and bleak as it is, the lyric ‘You lose every time. You’re born into this world of shit and then you die’ is unforgettable and works perfectly with the grimness of the vocals. Graves at Sea are truly unique, and excel on the two tracks they offer to the split.

Sourvein are the more veteran of the two bands, with three full lengths, three EP’s and seven splits under their belts. Offering a more psychedelic approach to the doom metal paradigm, it perfectly complements the blackened rhythms of Graves at Sea. Reverb aplenty, particularly in ‘Equinox’, and some groove laden riffs, Sourvein showcase their doom/sludge/psychedelic hybrid to great effect. The frequent change in pace from slow dawdling riffs to the head banging rhythm sections injects a lively thrust to the distorted haze.

Both bands are no strangers to the recording of splits; therefore it was only a matter of time before these two put their musical prowess on to the same release. While splits are certainly not about whose input is better, Graves at Sea are a band I had vague familiarity with before this release, but I’m now scouring the internet for more material, a fantastic discovery.   

Words by: Heather Blewett   

You can pick up a copy here