& Elmo Music
The new harbingers of American doom, Earthen Grave, use a slightly different technique than most of their peers as they have added a full time violinist and groovier, more upbeat style. From the outset you will notice a fuller, slicker production which instantly rubs me the wrong way. The title-track is imbued with a sultry, folky vibe because of the violin which is contrasted by the powerful vocals and giant sound of the rest of the band. A hard rock ballad feeling is instilled in the more minimal passages within the track and then the chorus rises up like a colossus with its chugging riffs and soaring vocals. Life Carries On sweeps in on a power metal main riff and some skilled violin sweeps. I hear elements of Tool's bleak songwriting hidden in the shadows on this track. An insistent groove propels the song and sets up a whirlwind of guitar soloing near the song's conclusion. Burning A Sinner has a nice circular main riff and airy vocals that grab me, but the chorus loses me. Not sure exactly what it is. Clean guitar and a sorrowful atmosphere sets up Blood Drunk, but for some reason I hear a modern rock dynamic to the song that turns me off from this track. The tempo increases slightly and the song becomes denser towards its second half, however the Nickelback feel of this song just turns me off. Thick grooves and a Soundgarden/Tool feel dominate Tilted World despite the warped initial guitar segment. The main foundation of the song funnels those influences right to my ears and I cannot escape it. Earthen Grave is just too polished for the earthy tones I hope to hear from my doom bands. It's like a more commercial version of what one might expect from My Dying Bride's Turn Loose The Swans era with some more modern influences woven in. Plus the album is over an hour long and really drags on my patience. There are some promising aspects, the violin in particular adds a really eerie, desolate tone to the music. But as a whole, Earthen Grave fails to make much of an impact on me.