Review – Gravehill: When All Roads Lead to Hell

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Review – Gravehill: When All Roads Lead to Hell
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Gravehill: When All Roads Lead to Hell
Black Metal, Thrash Metal
Dark Descent Records
May 24th, 2011
Release length: 49:28
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Gravehill is a Black/Thrash Metal act that has been tearing through the underground and making a name for themselves in many circles. After reissuing their demo and first full-length releases Metal of Death and Rites of the Pentagram on one compilation recently, the fascination with the band thanks to a stronger distributional effort has grown, and with that comes the band’s signing to Dark Descent Records, an underground label that is gaining as much steam with the underground as this group is. But, is this release going to be up to the expectations of fans from all sides?

After a brief “Intro” telling listeners to abandon all hope, Gravehill tears into When All Roads Lead to Hell with some catchy hooks at a slower pace before hammering into a Thrash influenced Black Metal performance that greatly contradicts the slower groove of the opening to the track to give way to a more traditional brutal-sounding Black/Thrash Metal sound. While it’s a little disheartening given the knee-jerk shift in music, the song itself is not bad, and neither are the tracks that follow. “Devil Worshipper” is the song that truly sets the tone of the album though, thanks to it’s starting off with a mixture of early Black Metal and Thrash ideas together to make a very dirty sounding, yet sinister, blasphemous track that hits the listener hard and heavy, though retaining a catchy vibe to it that makes headbanging along mandatory.

Throughout the album, that slower section of “Unholy Executioner” does pop up against to handle some bridges. “When All Roads Lead to Hell” does slow down and take on a more traditional Black Metal sound with a slight groove to it from the Thrash input, and it works well for the track, though the sound of the song is essentially the same faster paced material. The track does stand out by having a much slower and melancholic closing that gives off a haunting atmosphere, but the only complaint is, like the aforementioned introduction on “Unholy Executioner”, it seems out of place, though the transition is a lot smoother. “Hell Metal Holocaust” has a bit of that groove to it with a heavier Thrash input, bringing a raw intensity and aggression with it that will easily catch the interest of even the most pure Metal elitists. The song itself is catchy, and from start to finish you’ll be stuck by the Thrash hooks, pounding music and atmosphere, and the rather impressive guitar solos that hit when you reach the half-way point of the song.

Aside some sudden changes in music that either don’t fit, or just generally seem too sudden and not really transitioned well, the music here is still quite enjoyable. The production quality sounds pretty clear, but is still muddy enough to give it a dirty vibe with a good bite. Because of this the music also feels heavy, but not necessarily in a burdening manner, but allowing it to sound a little more brutal and blunt. This really works well to capture the aggression in some of the tracks, like “Extinction” and “Sudde No Man to Live”, as well as the obvious war themes and even the sound effects with the death march from the guitars and drums playing over them at the end of the song “Pray for War”.

But, with all the great songs, there’s one that seems greatly out of place. The final track on the recording doesn’t really have a name. Instead, the track name “7:06” is where you’re supposed to start, which explains the nearly eleven and a half minute track length. The song itself starts with a gutteral Mork and Mindy sitcome reference, then a more upbeat old-school Hard Rock song with traditional Black Metal vocals. It’s not a bad song, and once you get past the reference that starts off the song, and look past the second minutes and five seconds of silence on the last track that apparently serves as the hidden hidden track that’s not so well hidden, you’ll pick up the more satyrical stand point of the track and really enjoy the nostalgic approach taken by the band.

In the long run, there’s not much to be said about the new Gravehill album. All Roads Lead to Hell is a good album that, while not necessarily offering anything too different, is a release that can be enjoyed by fans of both Thrash and Black Metal styles. The songs are solid and aside some knee jerk transitions and the odd last track of the album, there’s nothing else that can be said negatively about the album. When All Roads Lead to Hell manages to bring you the closest to Hell you can come without actually crossing into it, of course speaking in a positive way towards an enjoyable experience, and in the end makes for a nice addition to the band’s discography.


01. Intro – 0:33
02. Unholy Executioner – 4:16
03. Extinction – 4:50
04. When All Roads Lead to Hell – 4:45
05. Suffer No Man to Live – 3:53
06. Hell metal Holocaust – 4:40
07. Pray for War – 5:21
08. Consvmed by Rats – 5:48
09. 7:06 – 11:27
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10

Gravehill
Gravehill

Digital review copy of this release provided by Dark Descent Records
via Clawhammer PR.