Gravpel – Power to the filthy Masses

Rating: 2.5/5
Distributor/label: Red Nebula Abart Corruption Feral Age Records Bad Moon Rising
Released: 2021
Buy Album: Bandcamp
Band Website: Facebook

Band line-up:

Drums: S
Vocals: L
Guitar: S
Bass: T
Guitar: L

Tracklisting:

1. Call to Action / Grind Them to Waste
2. Dividing Scars / Lines in the Dirt
3. First Spark of the Inferno / Set Ablaze
4. Anomy / A Thin Scab of Civilization
5. Of Violence and Structure (Re-Recording)
6. A Revolution Yet to Come / A Reality Yet to Embrace
7. What We Aim For / Power to the Filthy Masses
8. Tribute to Tiqqun / Identity

Review:

Gravpel are a black metal band from Switzerland who formed in 2018, and who are on the labels Red Nebula (USA), Abart Corruption (EU), Feral Age Records (EU), AND Bad Moon Rising (Asia). They released their debut full length album ‘Power to the Filthy Masses’ on October 22nd, 2021. It follows a 2019 demo album, simply called ‘Demo’, a 2021 split release called ‘Anarcho Primitivist Black Metal’, and a 2021 single called ‘What We Aim For…’ Their sound is extremely violent, raw and uncompromising and returns to the origins of the BM genre. 

The samples used and the aggressive, mostly minimalist nature of the instruments kind of brings to mind the industrial metal band Ministry. The main difference with Gravpel, is the super raging black metal vocal delivery and the fuzzier production. Sadly however, the group are lacking the genuinely addictive hooks Ministry have, which is a shame, as hooks really are one of the most dominant features of the BM band’s sound. The kind of riffs you get are mainly power chord ideas that sound like they were written in a few minutes, and maybe they were. On the plus side, the guitars do have a number of styles, from hardcore punk, to grindcore, to doom metal. The tremolo picked, black metal guitars are equally unadventurous, however.

Perhaps the strongest feature of the sound is the way it sounds REALLY pissed off. I guess if you’re really angry too, you probably won’t really be caring about the quality of the music you’re listening to, you’ll just want to vent. In that case, Gravpel are the band for you. Again, this is no deep album, all the songs sound pretty much the same for the most part. As the fusions of genre are only mild, the album really has two main styles: Fast and slow. Ok to be fair, track ‘Of Violence and Structure’ does have a genuinely cool 7/4 groove metal riff that actually develops in the way Pantera twists their riffs, showing the band do have it in them to be genuinely creative, but such ideas don’t last for too long. More mindless mentalness quickly follows, but thankfully the coolness does come back. That song is actually fairly decent. I have to be honest, that’s pretty much all I really have to say about the LP. Again, there isn’t too much to this music.

In conclusion, this is a great soundtrack to your life if you’re a full blown maniac, but it is only rarely creative. The song titles are perhaps more creative than the music itself, with track names such as ‘A Thin Scab of Civilisation.’ Perhaps more fitting track names would be ‘Stab, Stab, Stab’ or ‘Burn Everything’, etc. On the plus side, I guess this album isn’t truly boring, especially if turned up very loud, and there are some dynamic contrasts in some of the songs, even if the drumless parts last just a few seconds, but again, it’s quite possible the whole album was written in a couple of days. But maybe the album couldn’t have been produced that quickly, so there is that. But who knows? There are reasonably intelligent switches of riffs in some songs which I guess are pretty cool, but all in all, this album is forgettable. Well maybe not forgettable, as it does stand out as very angry. So let’s say it’s fairly poor. 

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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