Gravewurm - DoomedGravewürm can best be described as a coin. Each side of the coin is distinct and only one side can be represented at any given time. If both were to exist simultaneously, all meaning in a coin-toss would be lost. In Gravewürm‘s case, however, if a coin could be propped on its end and the two sides could be displayed at the same time—the image of what they want to be and what they are—the band could produce a distinct and creative sound. Instead, one side displays purveyors of classic ’80s black metal sound, hellbent on maintaining the raw, unforgiving character of black-metal pioneers Hellhammer and early-Bathory. The other side stares up at you with an oxidized exterior, discolored by all the flaws of Gravewürm‘s actual sound. Thirty years past its prime, Gravewürm‘s songwriting and musical delivery continues to leave a lot to be desired, and after twenty-five years of existence and ten full-lengths, I ask myself the same question before every Gravewürm release: does Gravewürm have anything new—anything at all—to offer in their newest output?

[bandcamp width=90% height=120 album=2394377230 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

For those familiar with the band, you may not be surprised by my answer. No, Doomed to Eternity has nothing new to give. Funeral Grave has been marching along the same path he chose to tread back on 2000’s Ancient Storms of War; continuing to spew war, blasphemy, and rot in the crustiest, blood-stained way. Album after album, Funeral Grave is determined, with an unfaltering resolve, to fade-out every track he writes, chug away with a simplicity that is borderline neanderthal, and drown out all things stringed with some of the lowest forms of production and the most cringe-worthy vocals on the planet. Yet, some people adore these qualities.

With 2010’s Blood of the Pentagram and last year’s Abyss Sorcery, “memorability” is as archaic a word to Gravewürm as the word “archaic” itself. With Abyss Sorcery, the band discovered a sense of “refinement” in their black/thrash delivery and production, resulting in a longer-lasting album and a more digestible vocal performance. Neither innovative nor original, one should still be thankful Doomed to Eternity is carved from the same shovel handle as its nearest precursor.

Gravewurm 2016

For those with an itch for primitive Hellhammerisms and Nunslaughtering, you may find opener “Shining Night Gleam” to your liking. Ravaging the black with thrash, this song is a nonstop corpse-stomper that—for better or worse—is a fine representation of the Gravewürm sound. “Sepulchral Sorceress” and “Soul Stalker” also deliver that thrashy, punky, blackened riffage that seems to only make money for Toxic Holocaust. For something a bit more on the adventurous side, look no further than the Mercyful Fate-inspired “Bury My Coffin,” the frozen-wind introduction and doom-laden rhythm of “The Wolves of Isengard,” and the melodic qualities of the title track. Ok, maybe not “adventurous,” but these tracks smell a lot fresher when compared to Gravewürm‘s typical mix of black, thrash, and doom.

In the end, the negatives outweigh the positives on Doomed to Eternity. The aforementioned numbers are moments of flickering light in the swell of billowing smoke, but most songs simply get choked out. “Fangs of the Serpent” and “The One True Soul of Darkness” have some catchy licks but become exceedingly repetitive and peter out, leaving their potential meandering blindly. However, the production and vocals have improved, the instrumentation finally has come to the front, and there’s even a bass guitar on “Doomed to Eternity.” Though Doomed to Eternity still lacks that “something” [Good songs? – AMG] to keep me hanging around, some may find this to be decent background noise to their nightly grave desecrations. I’ll be returning to the classics.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Hells Headbangers Records
Releases Worldwide: December 25th, 2015

  • I really like the logo. That’s kind of where it ends for me.

    • You wot m8?

      Ha! Just thinking the same thing!

    • Prostidude

      I was thinking the exact oposite about the AMG website!

      • What, you’re not into snobbery?

        • Prostidude

          Did you actually change the site logo because I stepped on your angry metal toes with my snobby comment?

          I feel so elite right now.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            It’s been in the works. Sorry to take that elitism from you.

          • lol, no. I forgot about it. We changed it because Motörhead. :(

          • Prostidude

            It’s nice to know it isn’t just the play-out of my lame meta joke, but a truely deserved homage to the most down-to-earth rocking legend that ever walked the earth.

  • One More Thing

    These are the lyrics that I heard while that track played:

    “Play for ten seconds, repeat it! Play another ten seconds, repeat it! Do something basic with the drums, repeat it! Everything we just did, repeat it! That’s about all we got, delete it!”

    • SelfIndulgence

      Reminds me of Filth….with less screech. Not a good thing.
      “Try Track 4, Coffin Fodder. It sounds horrible but it’s actually quite beautiful”

  • Diego Molero

    Even the artwork is bad.

    • Reese Burns

      There are so many talented artists out there nowadays, and even if you can’t find one, lots of bands just use a nice photo on the cover. There’s no excuse for artwork this bad.

      • Diego Molero

        Exactly, they clearly didn’t want a “nice photo on the cover”, but that artwork its just really terrible, but well I suppose thats what they wanted to be

        • Reese Burns

          Yeah, I guess a nice photo wouldn’t exactly suit them. But whatever 6th-grader they got to do their cover art must be pretty proud of what they drew.

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    Gravewurm is to Nunslaughter what Soulburn is to Asphyx, or so it sounds. Except Soulburn is better. Great review Doc!

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I didn’t find this quite as bad as the review makes it seem to be. Not every band can be original, not every band can be a classic. Sometimes it´s not about reinventing the wheel but about keeping it rolling. I will likely be playing this together with Morbid Slaughter.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. Just nothing here for me.

    • Reese Burns

      Morbid Slaughter were the ones who put out Filthy Orgy, right?

      • Dr. A.N. Grier


        • Reese Burns

          Thought so, that record was fun enough, I gave it a few spins before getting bored with it. Might go back and listen to it again, now that it’s in my head.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I’m glad you’re enjoying both of these releases. Neither of them have sunk in at all for me.

          • Reese Burns

            Eh, they’re alright, but you’re not missing too much

  • William Hebblewhite

    Brutal review.

  • Graveworm > Gravewürm. The embedded song here was decent though.