Asphalt Graves, a new project boasting an impressive resume of talent with current and former members of bands like Dying Fetus, Black Dahlia Murder, and GWAR leaves something to be desired with their debut album out on Vitriol Records.
Starting with a slow roll of a riff in terms of this death/grind/punk style hybrid it doesn’t take long, 50 seconds or so, before the first blast beat arrives. For me it’s a frustrating album at times. There are some really good riffs that could have been. The band grazes by many a great lead but rarely ever hits it before they move on to the next blast beat. The production is fine, all of the instruments are played competently and the vocals fit just fine. Nothing stands out here except the missed opportunities.
The track “Megalomaniacs” is a perfect example of this; they hit this riff that’s going to be great and then before you know it, its gone again. Two songs later it happens again with a great circle pit riff; they change tempo and its gone again.
The songs seem disjointed by too many influences never really sticking to a formula except that of shorter songs. As a listener, I never had that metal ‘fuck yeah’ moment. The middle of the album is better than the beginning or end. Tracks “Mass Graves,” “Angst and Praise” and “Stop Resisting” are the standouts in an otherwise lack luster grind album.
That being said, I do have hope for this project, if it continues. The final track “Exit from Reality” shows some promise. I understand the need to stay true to grind roots but it seems like they could have gone full grind and had a minute of a great riff and turned 13 songs into 20 or 30. Brevity can be an asset in grind but it can also be a curse. Asphalt Graves is somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.