GRAVELAND - THE FIRE OF AWAKENING - Reviewed by Grim Gaijin
1) We Shall Prevail 2) Battle Of Wotan's Wolves 3) In The Sea Of Blood 4) Die For Freedom 5) The Four Wings Of The Sun
Those of you into true black metal know that the name GRAVELAND is synonymous with both Nordic Style Black Metal and more recently Viking Style Black Metal. Although extremely talented and influencial in both, it is there streak of Viking Style Black Metal releases that has made them a success in the underground world of black metal. With grim nordic syle releases such as "In The Glare Of Burning Churches", "Carpathian Wolves" and the monumental "The Celtic Winter" sending out messages of pure hate, it is their newer viking themed releases; "Raise Your Sword", "Creed Of Iron" and "Memory And Destiny" that continue to keep me entertained to this day.
The Fire Of Awakening continues where Memory And Destiny left of. As a matter of fact, it is almost as if they were part of the same session because of their similarities. That is not a bad thing though because Rob Darken (the sole member of Graveland), has enough talent and pagan hate to keep us interested for a long time to come. The five songs on "The Fire" range from 7 and a half minutes to 10 minutes in length and the atmosphere of each song is strong enough to make us think that we are on a battlefield in medieval times fighting for our lives. The one major difference from this disk and the past few Graveland releases is the increase in tempo for the majority of the songs. Nowhere close to blast-beat range, but also not as doomy as Raise Your Sword. My only gripe with "The Fire" (and Memory and Destiny) is the lack of a Native polish vocal release (as with Creed Of Iron). Not only does it add to the black metal atmosphere to mystical proportions, it just sounds plain evil!
For those of you who have been wanting to give Viking metal a try but are not sure who to listen to, stop your search with Graveland and prepared to be overpowered by it's enthralling message of power, brutality and beauty. More specifically, "The Fire Of Awakening" is an all out pagan adventure into the afterland. Bring your sword!!
--Grim Gaijin 06.11.04
About this Writer: David Loveless // Dave's early introduction to Metal was listening to records by Black Sabbath and Kiss. Discovering Metallica's Master of Puppets on record at the local public library turned his world upside down. After spending nearly 24 years in Japan and expanding his love for the International underground metal scene, Dave (and family) now resides in the US. The savage brutality of Extreme Metal brings out the "Grim Gaijin" in him.
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