Album Title: Under the Banner of War
Label: Barbarian Wrath
Gravewurm is an American band playing Hellhammer-styled black/death metal. This is their third full-length album.
The guitar sound here is rough and dirty, as befits this style, but has more crunch than on Gravewurm's earlier albums. Vocals are slow, raspy, blasphemous, and quite understandable. The drumming is fine, nothing too exceptional. The mix obscures the bass somewhat, but there's plenty of low-end here.
Gravewurm's songwriting is simple and to the point. Each song starts with repetition of a handful of mid-paced riffs, and ends with... well, the same riffs. That's not a bad thing, though, because the songwriting here perfectly captures the lo-fi feel of classics like "Satanic Rites". The proceedings have a filthy, nasty vibe that fans of this style should appreciate. The songs on Gravewurm's earlier albums seemed to blend together a bit, but here they stand out nicely, with plenty of strong moments. I've only one complaint. There are way too many fadeouts here, leaving most of the songs without a strong sense of completion. With all the great riffs on display, here, it's a shame that they didn't spend as much time on the song endings.
It was difficult to choose standout tracks for this one - they're all excellent, ten times better than anything this band has done in the past. On top of that, there are a number of unlisted live songs as bonus tracks. All told, that's nearly twenty tracks of quality Hellhammer worship. If you like this sort of ancient black/death metal, you need to pick this up immediately. Highly recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Legend", "Rise of the Goatlord", "Dethroned and Buried"