As a doom band based out of Chicago, Earthen Grave will never have their name discussed without a guaranteed mention of that city's best-known doom export, Trouble -- and not just because they recruited the latter's Ron Holzner to handle bass duties on this 2012 debut, but because that's just the way it is, folks. Try finding a Foo Fighters article that doesn't reference Nirvana, if you don't believe it. But what this veteran assemblage of Windy City unknowns (plus Holzner) can offer that Trouble never did is an abundant integration of the violin into powerful early standouts like "Life Carries On" and "Earthen Grave" (yes, a song named after the album, named after the band -- how historically doom-appropriate is that?). What's more, on the rare occasions when doom's trademark plod is replaced with a lighter-footed energy, said violin transforms songs like "Burning a Sinner" and "Beneath a Shovel Load" into markedly folk- and thrash-infused propositions, positively reminiscent of "mad" Martin Walkyer's much loved Skyclad. Regrettably, ensuing material such as "Dismal Times" and "Fall In" frequently misplaces both violin and fluid transitions (think Solitude Aeturnus' weaker efforts) before thankfully enjoying belated rescue by the once again inventive and quite lively closing epic, "Death on the High Seas." In sum, Earthen Grave still have a few rough patches to work out, but should keep experimenting with that violin element because, as first efforts go, this one is commendably solid and risk-taking.
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia