Founded back in 1992 by Stefan Fiori and Stefan Unterpertinger and inspired by bands like Kreator, Sodom, Slayer and Venom, the South Tyrolean Dark Extreme Metallers Graveworm return after eight years with a new album. Their ninth, Killing Innocence, is a ten-track, forty-nine-minute meld of Black, Death and Gothic Metal that is as dark and crushing as it is melodic.
Graveworm – Killing Innocence (AFM Records)
Release Date: 28 April 2023
Words: Jools Green
Killing Innocence should please everyone who enjoyed their last release, Ascending Hate from 2015, which was heralded by many as their best album in over a decade as it’s certainly cut from the same dark, powerful mould, once again harking back to their early material and makes an easy and engaging listen.
Opening on Escorting The Soul, one of the three singles released to herald this album’s impending release back in January, a hugely impactful track with its tantalizingly protracted opener of haunting piano work building in suspenseful stages into blackened riffing and hammering drum rhythms, with a mix of deep gravelly and higher acidic vocals and a catchy Gothic tinged repeat melody. Overall a dark, sinister, but hugely atmospheric piece and a great start to the album.
The other two singles, first the most recently released, We Are The Resistance, which dropped in March, is a precise plodder but with a meandering melody that weaves through the duration of the track and Dead Words, which was released last December, with its somewhat militaristic drum rhythms which pound throughout, precisely delivered sinister riffing, poignant pauses and a haunting melody, making a powerful listen.
The yet-to-be-heard gems start with Wicked Mind, a predominantly dark, up-tempo driver that ebbs and builds suspensefully. This maintains an eerie undercurrent throughout, dropping back towards the close. The same slower suspenseful pace reemerges in the shape of the next track, If The World Shut Down, a catchy number with a gradual build and engaging midpoint melodic element.
Where Agony Prevails delivers an enticing meld of brutal drum battery, acerbic hisses and deep growls, bound together with a sultry undercurrent coming from a mix of intense dark riffing and reflective melodic swathes.
A Nameless Grave has a Gothic feel from the offset, very haunting and dark, becoming more crushing as it progresses with elements of the keyboard-led Gothic undercurrent emerging throughout and End Of Time continues and builds on the keyboard theme of its predecessor as it opens, manifesting as a slow, reflective piece with a heavy dark undercurrent, bleakly beautiful and powerfully emotive.
The penultimate piece Wrath of Gods is a complete contrast. A wall of screams, intense riffing, and drum battery greets you and assaults your senses, ebbing back and coming at you again and again in waves. It’s such a great listen and packs a punch.
The final offering, In Honour Of The Fallen, is hauntingly reflective but punchy and gritty. Overall, Killing Innocence is definitely worth the eight-year wait.
Preorder/pre-save the album here.