Shallow Grave - Self Titled (IMPORT) (CD) Cover Art

Shallow Grave - Self Titled (IMPORT) (CD)

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Origin: New Zealand
Released: 2013
Catalog number: AST010
New Zealand has a twisted heart filled with endless wrath and frustration. That’s ably reflected in the country’s most ill-omened metal, and the self-titled debut from Shallow Grave captures that anger and unease flawlessly. The Auckland-based four-piece amplifies the malevolence that skulks beneath the façade of society in an unsettling, premonitory form—and does so with a substantial amount of spiteful exuberance.

All that grimness makes for engrossing doomsday metal. Such ominous themes have universal appeal, and Shallow Grave’s atmospheric sludge and doom will resonate with fans of distortion-heavy voyages into pits of damnation. The band fuses Grief’s scruffy poundage with Khanate’s evilest reverberations, and binds that to Neurosis’s obstinate artistry. Add in a mutilated, psychedelic undercurrent, and you’re getting close to the essence of Shallow Grave’s sound. It’s prowling sludge covered in festering sores being lanced by the rusty scalpel of aberrant doom (while the stench of post-metal’s rotting corpse lingers).

They’re committed to constructing deadfalls of depravity, with a sound that’s as heavy as the themes they tackle. In the end, that’s what makes Shallow Grave worth your time—the combination of hulking, bitter and viscid sounds echo and attack from all sides. And with biographical details about the band being scant, there’s an insistence that the message is what counts here first and foremost—and it’s clear that’s a communiqué oozing corruption. Up front you’ll find the gut-punch of downtempo deviant sludge, while lurking in the shadows is the venom. Shallow Grave is pernicious, slow-baked and hypnotizing poison, working its way under the skin.