Early Graves


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Goner is one of those releases that is short by album standards (it only lasts 25 minutes) but has too many songs to be considered an EP (there are ten tunes altogether). However, a lot can happen in the course of 25 minutes, and when a metal band is as relentlessly ferocious as Early Graves, 25 minutes is more than enough time to pummel and stomp the listener into total submission. Early Graves favor dense, bone-crushing alternative metal with a strong hardcore influence and elements of thrash metal (Slayer is a prominent inspiration) and crust punk; some folks might describe Goner as metalcore, but this 2010 release isn't metalcore in the Hatebreed/Throwdown/Brick Bath sense. Instead of emulating 21st century metalcore bands, Goner gets a lot of inspiration from the hardcore bands of the '80s -- although scorching tracks like "Trauma," "Faith Is Shit," and "Bastard Tears" are much heavier, much harsher, and much more abrasive than the hardcore recordings of that era. This is a violent, caustic, totally unforgiving CD, and Early Graves go for maximum density in order to lacerate their audience as much as possible. These Northern Californians obviously realize how powerful a weapon density can be; density is something that everyone from Slayer to saxophonist Charles Gayle (one of free jazz's most incendiary firebrands) to Norwegian black metallers Gorgoroth have used to increase the heaviness factor, and there is no shortage of heaviness on Goner. Of course, albums this unapologetically vicious aren't everyone's cup of tea; Goner isn't for those who only like their metal with a lot of melody and plenty of nuance, but it's an exciting, if predictable, listen if one is in the mood for some truly bombastic sensory assault.

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