Hot off the Press

Graveworm | Ascending Hate

by Justin Gaines
– Senior Columnist —

GravewormItalian Symphonic/Death/Black Metal (the exact mix keeps changing) band Graveworm is back with a new album, their ninth full-length offering to date – titled Ascending Hate. Newly signed to the AFM label, the band has served up a sinister new platter of artfully-orchestrated evil.

Like their countrymen in Fleshgod Apocalypse and Stormlord, Graveworm has, from the very beginning, incorporated symphonic arrangements (via keyboard) into an otherwise very fast, very Heavy Black Metal sound. They’ve moved in a more melodic direction over the years, and on Ascending Hate they have almost as much of a melodic death metal sound as they do a symphonic side.

Actually, the keyboards seem dialed back here, pushing the blastbeat drumming and guitar work way out front. More beast than beauty, as it were. And that’s not a bad thing. Graveworm does aggressive and brutal well, and Stefano Fiori’s growl is so perfect for this kind of music. His guttural tone contrasts so well with the melody on “Stillborn,” and carries all the sinister intent of songs like “Buried Alive” and “Blood, Torture and Death” perfectly.

There will no doubt be some fans pining for the ‘90s Graveworm sound who won’t be satisfied here, but this is a band that evolves, and does it well. Ascending Hate is a very solid album that hopefully will expand this band’s fan-base. It has a good crossover potential between fans of Symphonic Metal bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse, Stormlord and Dimmu Borgir as well as death metal bands like Soilwork, Dismember and Hypocrisy.

Edition Notes: The limited edition physical release of Ascending Hate comes in a digipack and includes a sticker and a cover of Bon Jovi’s “Runaway” as a bonus track. This isn’t the first time Graveworm has taken on a mainstream hit, and like their version of REM’s “Losing My Religion,” their take on “Runaway” is suitably sinister.

Genre: Death Metal, Black Metal, Symphonic Metal

Lineup:
Stefano Fiori (v)
Steve Unterpertinger (g) (k)
Eric Righi (g)
Martin Innerbichler (d)
Florian Reiner (b)

Track Listing:
1. The Death Heritage
2. Buried Alive
3. Blood, Torture and Death
4. To the Empire of Madness
5. Downfall of Heaven
6. Stillborn
7. Liars to the Lions
8. Rise Again
9. Son of Lies
10. Nocturnal Hymns II (The Death Anthem)
11. Runaway (Bon Jovi cover)

Label: AFM Records

Website: www.graveworm.de

Hardrock Haven Rating: 7.5/10

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