Over lockdown, some bands fell by the wayside, and others saw it as an opportunity to create and achieve something positive. Upon Your Grave is another great example of the latter. In 2019, at the dawn of the band’s tenth anniversary, original members Sim Diamond, Alex Bussieres and Jordan Jolicoeur grasped the opportunity to revive Upon Your Grave and start writing and rehearsing for a new EP.
Upon Your Grave – Gold And Decay (Self-Release)
Release Date: 7 October 2022
Words: Jools Green
Gold And Decay is Upon Your Grave’s first release since their debut full-length studio offering in 2013, Eponym. Since then, they have been tied up with other projects. But this time around, with the addition of two new members, Sebastien Gagné on drums and Yan Pelletier on bass, they believe they can now deliver “the perfect fit that would elevate their performances to a more genuine and aggressive sound.”
The EP theme “exposes the duality of beauty and horror and their relationship to each other,” vocalist Jordan Jolicoeur says. “Nothing is black or white. Everything is a nuance of grey living independently in every distinct mind.”
The cover art is also very symbolic. “The heart also represents the revival of the band from the ashes,” Jordan says, “beating a creative flow in each of our personal lives. The golden heart also represents the power of creativity unphased by the passing of time and the withering of leaves. Instead, beating stronger and renewed like the passing seasons. It’s creative, aggressive, and more mature than any other effort we put out until now.”
Gold And Decay may only be an eighteen-minute, five-track offering but a first listen demonstrates that it is so much more than that in terms of real content. It’s a powerful, cleverly constructed, engaging meld of Melodic Death Metal with Metalcore, offering brutality and melody, catchy riffs, great leads, crushing breakdowns and brutal snarling vocals. They flit between the crushingly brutal and the engagingly melodic with natural ease and flow.
After a brief clean guitar and restrained drum intro, Revived gives nothing away as to what to expect. The EP breaks into From Beyond which “talks about the event of encountering a being naturally bound from outer space, while we first explore those endless confines after discovering space travel,” Jordan says. “A monstrosity unbound by our human conceptions of organic possibilities.”
It packs a punch from the offset. I love the drive and power behind this predominantly heavy plodder, which also has melodic up-tempo aspects, and the guttural and high vocals mirror the power of the music. The superb second-half solo takes the whole track to the next level.
Next Pandora, which explores the mythical story of the box of the same name. “It’s the only song on the EP that approaches a somewhat spiritual theme in touch with ancient Greek myths,” Jordan says, “while still retaining the same vibe as the other songs.”
Delivering an up-tempo melodic but aggressive Death drive, it’s a hugely addictive listen, again a good mix of growls and acidic higher vocals. Midway there is a massive breakdown, ground shaking growls and the second half of the track is heavier than a stampeding rhino.
The track Supremacy, Jordan says, “symbolizes the death and rebirth of live shows caused by the pandemic and shining a glimmer of light that attracts us to reunite and prepare for the return in music that binds us together: a united pack.”
It’s definitely an anthem of a track, perfect for a live show. It’s a punchy, addictive driver that gathers pace as it progresses, with an engaging ebb and build and an excellent, slightly sinister undercurrent to some of the riff patterns that grabs your attention—completed with a superb second-half burst of leadwork.
The final offering, Transcend, “talks about a dystopian future where we put our bodies on warranty with cybernetic enhancements and augmented brains,” Jordan says. “Searching for a way to ascend with technology and bring the next step in evolution, heavily inspired by Ghost in the Shell and cyberpunk elements.”
It’s brutal from the offset with unrelenting drum work alongside brutal squealing and growling vocals. The direction switching is impressively slick, and the construct is complexly convoluted in the most brutal manner imaginable. A crushing track that completely blew me away was brought to an impressive close with a soaring slice of superb leadwork.
Gold and Decay is an end-to-end engaging listen that really hits the spot!
It will be available via PAG Distribution and, no doubt, at their live events too.