Graves At Sea/Sourvein – Split (Seventh Rule Recordings)Thursday, 31st July 2014
Splits are a great way to cross-pollinate between disparate fanbases or concentrate your efforts on bringing similarities together for something truly staggering (a lot like Windhand/Cough last year or Deafheaven/Bosse-De-Nage in 2012). With this ‘self-titled’ split (and a spectacular album cover) doom/sludge/merchants of murk Graves At Sea and Sourvein come together for 5 tracks and 28 minutes of exercising suffocation on whomever it happens to cross and, in truth, it kinda kills.
Graves At Sea takes up the first half of the disc with similarly lengthed and similar feeling tracks “Betting On Black” and “Confession”, each absurdly filthy in its riffing and espousing the cardinal sludge virtues of scorn and bitterness through the downtuned barrages and some surprisingly gnarly screeches. Sourvein, meanwhile, is a bit more Sabbathy in its approach. Not to say anything they do is traditional per se but it remains that with the clean(ish) vocals and the comparatively stripped down sound they hit just as hard with a very different approach, the effect less in scorn and more in the toxic haze of nights unlived. The two bands, while occupying the same general realm, balance one another well. That and the closer from Sourvein, the solo-heavy “Follow The Light” is a devastating piece of work during that solo.
This is a bit more scrutiny than splits tend to get but for genre fans this one is a no-brainer of a pickup. The cover art combined with the deliciousness on display mean that, for whoever might indulge it, there is ample thickness here to impress during the swampiest part of the summer. While it remains to be seen if this goes down as a legendary split for the year, it’s certainly got the potential. A shame this one hasn’t hit on vinyl, that would largely send it into the realm of absolutely must-have.