REVIEW: Grave Spirit - The Beast Unburdened by Flesh (Iron Bonehead)

Releasing as a  7" EP this year, The Beast Unburdened by Flesh is the first offering by black/death metal trio Grave Spirit. It's only fitting this EP would be put on wax, as the EP features a distinctive LoFi sound - the next best option would, no doubt, be cassette (but we all know how hard it is to get a decent and properly functioning cassette deck these days).

To simply call Grave Spirit black or death would be a great disservice, as the band rides the threshold between both genres. Offering some speedy blackened compositions, caustic vocals, and occasional off-tempo moments. On the other hand, it also has some decidedly death-like inclusions - mostly in terms of vocal work, which fits in with the likes of bands such as VAMPIRE or even Whipstriker. It's harsh and unforgiving stuff, truly living up to the bands goal of 'ghastliness and dread' - especially when it comes to the EP's Side B, which really kicks things up compared to the initial offering.

In particular, I'd have to say Grave Spirit's strong point is the riffs. Both sides of this EP have some really strongly composed songs, never quite wasting the room offered by the confines of a 7" single. Even when the band hit points that I wasn't particularly fond of, the riffs seemed to keep up and never offered a dull moment. Though you aren't exactly going to get a lot of complication or technicality, this is a singular guitar player here, within the realm of a relatively to-the-point blackened death metal EP.

Is isn't all black rainbows and lovecraftian motifs, however; The Beast Unburdened by Flesh may not exactly be for every black or death metal fan. As said, the EP is lo-fi - Very DIY. This is something I do like personally, but some people do like more definition and depth to the sound of the music they are listening to. The vocals are give or take. At times they really work, at others they just seem to be doing their own thing and not quite following the music. This is particularly evident on the first side. It isn't so bad, but noticeable.

Hopefully, this first is not the last for Grave Spirit. This group has a whole lot of great ideas behind their work, and The Beast of Unburdened by Flesh is a great show of potential.

-KEITH, THE ODD-