Wow, has it really already been 10 years since I had first laid ears on GRAVEWORM’s debut “When Daylight’s Gone”? It seems as if it was just a few weeks ago… And now the South Tyrolian troop already is releasing its sixth album, titled “Collateral Defect”, where did time go? Anyways, let’s not linger in the past, but concentrate on what we have in front of us right now.
For one there’s been another change in the guitar segment, seeing it completely replaced by now, with Eric Righi and Thomas “Orgler” Stirz, while the rest of the line-up has stayed stable, with Stefan Fiori, Sabine Mair, Harry Klenk and double-bass specialist Maschtl Innerbichler, so where does that lead the sound of GRAVEWORM? Well, they have modernized their sound a little, especially in the guitar department, but thankfully this does not change the general direction the band goes into, as they still live off the interplay between powerful Melodic Black Metal and atmospheric Gothic influences, topped off with Stefan Fiori’s powerful voice that still does the split between energetic Death Metal bellow and harsh Black Metal screech.
Leaving the completely useless and way too long intro “Reflections” out of the picture, “Bloodwork” unites everything that I had mentioned just before in one song, greatly helped by the very clear and powerful production by Andy Classen. “Touch Of Hate” follows the same path, but suddenly we get a whistling that reminds me a lot of RAMMSTEIN’s “Engel”, but do not fret, GRAVEWORM have not gone fully modern. “The Day I Die” even introduces a calmer passage with what sounds like a cello, sounds really good, while on the other hand “Fragile Side” doesn’t hit the right chords with me, especially in the vocals, where we also get some emo-like clear singing, some more core-like vocals on top of that, mixed into their own sound and some more violin and cello, I like the song, but the vocals are a completely different story…
And it would not be GRAVEWORM, if there was not a cover version of a good old Pop song, this time around we are treated to “I Need A Hero”, originally by Bonnie Tyler, I just love them, no matter if it’s HELLOWEEN, PET SHOP BOYS or Bonnie Tyler! Just wait for the chorus, when Fiori bellows “I Need A Hero” over the thundering double-bass, I love it!
Unfortunately “Collateral Defect” has a few weaker songs (especially in the second half), which in the end drag the overall impression down a bit, yet the songs, where they are fully up to par still manage to grip me like their older stuff, do not let the slightly more modern guitar sound throw you off, GRAVEWORM still are GRAVEWORM and that means quality!
(Online August 4, 2007)