Graves of Valor

Salarian Gate

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Graves of Valor are a decent if not exceptionally innovative death metal band from South Carolina featuring three former members of Through the Eyes of the Dead (guitarists Jeff Springs and Richard Turbeville, and drummer Dayton Cantley). Their full-length debut, following 2007's Famine EP -- recorded as From Graves of Valor -- offers 11 tracks that, while they do tend to blend together, at least aren't boring. Graves of Valor aren't gore-obsessed in the manner of Cannibal Corpse, and they don't seem particularly hung up on Satan à la Deicide or Morbid Angel, nor are they beholden to ancient mythology like Nile or Amon Amarth. Saying their sound reflects their Southern roots would probably be a stretch; there are no Lynyrd Skynyrd riffs buried amid the pentatonic scales and blastbeats. But vocalist Damon Welch occasionally adds a little bit of a redneck twist to his grunts and roars, not unlike Brutal Truth frontman Kevin Sharp or Lamb of God's Randy Blythe. This is particularly noticeable on "Bridles of Incitatus" and "Sic Semper Tyrannis," the latter of which provides some insight into the band's overall attitude and world-view. If Graves of Valor have an animating philosophy, it's probably the usual semi-political iconoclasm or hostility to authority; in addition to "Sic Semper Tyrannis," other track titles include "Suffocation of the Last King," "The Clever Ape," and "No Gods Left." This is a solid modern-day death metal album, a little beholden to metalcore in its embrace of mosh pit-ready riffs rather than the doomy dissonance of classic death metal, but nonetheless something older and younger fans of the genre can get behind: not world-beating, but enjoyable.

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