Lovingly pinched from The Obelisk: Following the release of their self-titled debut on Tee-Pee in 2008, the groundswell around Swedish retro rockers Graveyard has been remarkable. The Gothenburg four-piece, born from the same roots as Witchcraft in the band Norrsken, tapped a direct line to the soft spot in everyone’s heart for Led Zeppelin and managed to balance a weighted tonality with upbeat and driving rhythms in a way that a lot of stylized proto-metal or heavy rock simply couldn’t do.
The dueling guitars and vocals of Joakim Nilsson and Jonathan Ramm make both their live and recorded output exciting and memorable, and that carries over to their much-anticipated 2011 second album, Hisingen Blues, delivered via Nuclear Blast. Soundwise, Hisingen Blues doesn’t range far from the Graveyard album, but it’s cleaner and you can tell in listening that Graveyard has spent significant time on the road. Their playing is tighter and Nilsson and Ramm have an increased sense of interplay between their voices that comes across especially well on a track like ‘Uncomfortably Numb.’
There are a slew of ‘70s and classic rock references throughout, from the title of the song just mentioned to the Lynyrd Skynyrd solo contained therein – finally, an answer to the proverbial yelling of ‘Freebird!’ at every show ever – and the spooky organ that populates ‘Ungrateful are the Dead.’ The album starts with the shuffle of ‘Ain’t Fit to Live Here’, drummer Axel Sjöberg making his presence immediately felt with excellent snare and kick work, a kind of looseness in his playing that’s never actually out of control. It’s perfect for Graveyard’s sound, in any case, and able to switch between the bluesy revival (Ramm and Nilsson testifying with the spirit well upon them, to be sure) of ‘Ain’t Fit to Live Here’ and more swaying grayness of ‘No Good, Mr. Holden’, which follows.
The choruses of both the opening duo cuts make them Hisingen Blues highlights, but there’s something about the material Graveyard that presents that doesn’t beat you over the head. There’s a subtlety to the songwriting that virtually begs for repeat listens, and I’ve found that the more I engage with the record, the more likely I am to have one of the songs in my head.
This entry was posted on Saturday, February 26th, 2011 at 9:13 am and is filed under 2011, Album of the Day . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.