Review: “Depart From So Much Evil” by Gravehuffer

What’s in a name? Usually we’d say “ask the band” but in the case of Gravehuffer, we can translate as if a foreign language. A grave is a place where the dead are buried. A huffer is a drug addict who gets a high by inhaling or sniffing intoxicating fumes like glue or aerosols. So therefore logically a Gravehuffer is an addict of Death. Formed in 2008 in Joplin Missouri and comprising members having been involved in the heavy scene since the ’90s and known for their work in Initial Detonation, Aether Bunny, Krom and Freakflag, they were born of Crust Punk roots and have evolved their sound to form an giant rubber band ball like amalgamation of Punk, Metal, Grindcore, Sludge and Doom Metal over the past fifteen years. Recorded, mixed and produced by bassist Mike Jilge and the band at Silesian Son Studio 2021-2022 before being mastered by Garry Moore, “Depart From So Much Evil” is their fifth nail in the coffin. Each track written by a different member of the group with the title track a fresh take on “The Divine Comedy” by Dante…

Before you look at the track listing and feel short changed, despite the bands reputation for short, fast abominations this is a full length album that surpasses the 37 minute mark due to the title track clocking in at an incredible 22 minutes. That’s something that makes perfect sense considering that “The Divine Comedy” is in three parts – Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, which the band themselves reference in the credits but more about that later… Opening cut “Blueprint For An Early Grave” begins like an exploitation film with a collection of samples before rattling in like a full throttle Napalm Death cut. A social commentary from Travis McKenzie that explains why we’re setup to fail, it’s a thinking man’s rampage that is worth more than just an afterthought. Turning things up a notch, “Slayberry” finds the band reaching the speed limit before sucking down another beer and screaming “yippee ki yay motherf***er!“. Floating between Grindcore and Crust Punk in style it’s a sub 120 second slap in the face that leaves you wanting more. “The Cryptid And The Iron Bird” then gives us an evolution as the opening head charge through familiar territory breaks into an atmospheric bridge reminiscent of late works by The Dillinger Escape Plan with eclectic and eccentric twists and turns, the vibrant solo in the back end an absolute masterstroke of magnificence. As if to confirm there are no borders or boundaries to the work of Gravehuffer, a Death Metal vocal and some acoustic guitars are both in the opening strains of “Brainstorm“, a cut that finds McKenzie trade some of his darker growled vocals for some shriller ones to give the cut a real Avant-garde and almost Art Metal feel. That works incredibly well before the bloodthirsty “Go Murder Pray And Die” goes straight Crust Punk with Carlos Ransom lending his throat to the raw, old school action that is a classic CBGB’s piece.

As we’ve already alluded to, the album title track is a magnum opus of a cut and something of a brave undertaking. Eric Sweet narrates as the band rise from beneath melancholic  orchestration, McKenzie spitting blood and venom in unhinged fashion as the band play fast and loose as if live in a basement. Lively, fun and downright evil, they present the soundscape to utterly unhinged madness that puts others in the shade as they pull you kicking and screaming through a hedge backwards – and that’s just the first eight minutes. Creepy sounds and indistinguishable voices then offer up a hellscape of dark atmospherics that then break into some warm guitar as if a nightmare of black thought has lifted but we’re far from the end as a Death Metal riff appears on the horizon. McKenzie goes feral as if left in solitary confinement for too long, the bands controlled rhythmic aggression stopping things from unravelling completely. The final chapter is however the most bizarre as seemingly Pink Floyd inspired moments surface from the black depths, giving a haunting and eerie post horror moment with an ethereal tinge. The bloodbath is over and the lone survivor looks upon the beauty of nature safe in the knowledge that there is no longer a threat in this post apocalyptic world. Clever, ornate, turbulent and violent, what Gravehuffer have created is a soundtrack to an exploitation movie that has plenty of tales to tell and disturbances to offer. Listen to it once to often and you may simply loose your mind [7.5/10]

Track Listing

1. Blueprint For An Early Grave
2. Slayberry
3. The Cryptid And The Iron Bird
4. Brainstorm
5. Go Murder Pray And Die
6. Depart From So Much Evil

Depart From So Much Evil” by Gravehuffer is out 17th February 2023 via Black Doomba Records and is available over at bandcamp.

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