King of the Silent World is Brisbane black metal horde Graveir’s second album, following along from 2016’s Iconostasis. It sees the renewed five-piece lineup tackling their first spate of new material after 2018’s Cenotaph EP and the arrival of guitarist VVoid to the ranks of the band.
Album opener Charnel Bacchanalia sees a brief grunt begin proceedings before the band picks up the mid-paced tempo. Vocals from Gloom range from a black metal rasp to more death metal influenced mid ranged grunts. They suit the atmospheric music crafted by the band and fit the concept of what they’re crafting here. Scaphism takes no prisoners; still running at a measured pace but the band has upped the intensity compared to Charnel Bacchanalia. Gloom is the focal point here, spewing commanding vocal lines over riffs that seem made for the live arena, atmosphere in spades albeit designed to no doubt be an anthem among the Graveir faithful.
The Fetch of Crooked Spine has some interesting guitar interplay that adds to the tension that the riffs create before engaging a sudden time change. There’s a recurring lead phrase here that really adds to the layers of the song and just helps build an atmosphere of intense dread; the track then fades out abruptly to the sound of feedback.
Bathed in Acheron shifts back to a relaxed pace but is no less crushing than what preceded it. It’s almost reflective and mournful in its approach. Without necessarily focusing on one individual member it works very nearly as a showcase for what guitarists Emaciation and VVoid, as well as bassist Pandora can bring to these compositions, her solid basslines driving Bathed in Acheron before it again abruptly shifts to an atmospheric blast.
In Remnant Light works almost in converse to Bathed in Acheron, as here it is XI’s propulsive drumming that drives this track; the riffs, chords and vocals almost seeking to serve as the backdrop to the foundational anchor laid down, almost floating freely before being sucked back into the punishing propulsion before another jarring transition that perhaps represents the coming of death. Immacolata feels that much more expansive and open as there are multiple spates of musicianship on display here, almost feeling as if the band have conjured something up from differing influences. It absolutely fits with what they’re doing but it acts as a nice change of pace from the unrelenting atmospheric assaults preceding it. It’s enthralling and almost hypnotic in approach as Gloom spits out lyric after malevolent lyric.
Waiting… feels particularly energised, almost (dare I say it) progressive in approach. Featuring unconventional drumming, obtuse riffs and double-tracked vocals this one is full of freshness at every twist and turn. It’s a longer track, sure, but it’s nowhere near bloated. Graveir have seen fit to stretch themselves out; and this chance has served them well as Waiting… is one of the most engaging tracks on the album.
Again, serving almost as the antithesis to the preceding track, Fodder for the Gears is strident in its dissonance, propelled once more by particularly strong vocals it serves as something of an interlude, being shorter than the tracks that both precede and succeed it. It’s an opportunity for Graveir to darken once more, unhinging the atmosphere that they have spent an album’s length forging. Phantasms in Daguerreotype is another expansive number guided by some grimy bass chords before some distant feedback heralds the coming of riffs. This track is quite forlorn and reflective, befitting as the lyrics seem to concern mortality itself. Perhaps intentional, the fury of the guitars and bass is relatively subdued here, calling back to the murky bass chords at the introduction of the song.
Father, Devourer is the longest track on offer, clocking at just under seven and a half minutes. It’s as mesmerising as it is commanding in its presence with a sound akin to a miasma of fog. Dense and gargantuan, it feels as fresh as many of the tracks that came before it. It’s a fitting conclusion to the album, one that will leave the listener thick with anticipation at which heights Graveir will next see fit to explore.
Graveir introduced King of the Silent World by prefacing that their approach, their sound, even their very entity is pervaded by aspects of death, of which the album deals with through differing concepts, events and incidents. Graveir have thus structured and built the album’s atmosphere around something that is at once profound, curious and inexorable. Despite (or perhaps owing to) the uniform construction of atmosphere focused upon in King of the Silent World, Graveir have created a solid and cohesive work where each track has as much in common with each other as it does differences. Recommended for fans of the Australian scene, black metal in general, and/or anyone who desires to be challenged. King of the Silent World is a rewarding listen that will leave you as curious as it does sate you.
- Charnal Bacchanalia
- The Fetch of Crooked Spine
- Bathed in Acheron
- In Remant Light
- Fodder for the Gears
- Phantasms in Daguerreotype
- Father, Devourer