July 9th, 2012
Genre: Death Metal
Region: Australia / USA
Once again the twisted minds behind Impetuous Ritual and Portal, through their heinous Death/Doom Metal project Grave Upheaval, unleash more crawling chaos in this split with Manticore; who also contribute to their own seasoned catalogue of filthy death metal.
Probably the only thing that bothers me about Grave Upheaval (other than not having recorded a full length yet) is the fact that all their tracks are "untitled" which can make things a little confusing. A minor and insignificant complaint considering whenever they raise from their earthen tomb to project cold doom-infused death metal upon the underground community it is uncompromisingly destructive.
They contribute two tracks to this record, both of which I saw performed at Rites of Darkness III not long ago and both are suffocating, crushing and dirty as a smoker's lungs. The production is slightly clearer on this compared to their split with Encoffination which to some might take away from their murky atmosphere but to me the riffs and groaning vocals are no less oppressive and lurching with a little more clarity in the mix.
The first track is a little shorter but the severely low tuning and creeping pace is such that it feels just as torturous as any ten minute doom track, hammering the listener with drawn out tremolo riffs as the moans crawl forward — drums flickering ominously with the sudden appearance of a gong. The pacing is set slightly faster by the drums as the riffs continue to weigh down with a single set of notes which continues right to the finish, so low and dirty.
This tone is only altered slightly once you hit the second track which pulses with crunchy, slow doom powerchords punctuated by an occasional hammer-on. It's pure darkness as the track somehow hits an even lower pitch when the rasping growls enter. They hold this nice groove with very slight changes in the dismal sway, drums only picking up a touch in the final moments of the track. Every chord struck is a granite slab in the face to be savored on their side. Their material is growing stronger with each short step and I long for a full release even more at this point.
Honestly I'm not all too familiar with Manticore's releases prior to this but their side is great regardless. Manticore definitely take a more traditional approach compared to their partners here, though they remain filthy and evil in their own right. "Unleashing Unholy Temptations" opens slowly, demonic rasps uttered with palpable hate as the chunky riffs plow for a short time. The pace is decided more thrashy and oldschool immediately after this short intro: a choppy onslaught of death metal with some nice hooks near the end before an abrupt close.
"Insemination of the Sycophant" is just as vicious. Powerful percussive blasts pummel you the entire way through — the pace only slows in the middle where a crushing section briefly interrupts the thrashing before tossing you back into the blackened fury. It all ends so quickly you'll definitely need to run through both tracks a few times to get a proper dose of the whirlwind chaos, something that shouldn't be any trouble at all.
If you're aching for another taste of what Grave Upheaval are conjuring in their dark pit in Australia, or what Manticore have been working on since their 2006 full length and last years split then jump on this one. Buy this shit from the Nuclear War Now! Productions store, the diehard version comes with two patches. You can also stream this in full on their bandcamp page.