posted on 4/2007 By:
Norwegian twosome Graabein have unleashed quite a tasty little four-song EP on the metal world in Howl, apparently the band’s fifth EP release in the last four years. Graabein achieve their semi-memorable sound by taking melodic, fairly typical black metal riffing and vocals and injecting some enjoyable guitar harmonies and surprisingly (dare I say it) catchy choruses and hooks. Its refreshing to hear a black metal band unafraid to write listenable tunes while still maintaining the requisite air of grimness, and while ultra-elitist black metallers will likely find the music here too rock influenced and easily digestible, there’s no doubt in my mind that these guys are talented songwriters who have the goods to make a name for themselves in the scene once their full potential is reached.
As previously stated, riffing here is melodic and full of catchy tremolo leads, and in some cases reminds me a lot of Norwegian legends Taake, one of my favorite bands. And while the song structures here are much less complex than that band, Graabein succeed in making their songs enjoyable from the get go but also giving them enough depth to have some staying power, with intelligent tempo changes and a fairly varied attack, considering the short length of the release. This is especially true of the title track, which runs the gamut from speedy blasts to a moody clean guitar interlude before closing on a very impressive solo. I really like the manner in which guitarist Utburd layers his leads on top of the riffs; it allows for lots of interesting harmonies and solos that you don’t often hear in black metal, and the moderately intelligible vocals helped the choruses stick in my head better than I would have expected. I particularly enjoyed the blasting chorus of “Dodsgud” and the closing track “The Goat Is Among Us”, a re-record from the group’s first demo. The production is fairly clean for black metal standards and this works in the band’s favor, particularly to highlight the aforementioned guitar dynamics.
I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised by what Graabein have come up with here. While nothing too original, this is a style of black metal that can be damn entertaining if done properly, and I believe these guys have the flair and creativity to potentially set themselves apart from the pack and become leaders in their particular field some day. Perfect for people new to the genre or anyone looking for black metal with some kick to it. Now just give us a full-length album!
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