Gothenburg is the capital of Västra Götaland County in Sweden and it has a rich pedigree in churning out some of the finest rock and metal on the global scene. It boasts bands from a variety of genres such as IN FLAMES, THE HAUNTED, DARK TRANQUILITY, DEAD BY APRIL and a plethora more, including psychedelic and bluesy rock ‘n’ rollers GRAVEYARD. Since 2006 the Swedish quartet have provided vibrant, bluesy and old school music that feeds your soul and takes you to places of heavenly catharsis. Now, after a hard few years, the Gothenburg veterans return with their sixth album, 6.
It’s a familiar story, when the pandemic hit many bands suffered and in turn it deeply affected their music. GRAVEYARD are no exception. Coming off the back of its earthy, driving and heavier predecessor Peace, 6 reflects the plethora of melancholic emotions that we all experienced throughout the pandemic years. It does so in a soulful, bluesy and psychedelic way, as if the band have physically and metaphorically taken a step back to thoroughly reflect on the situation at hand. As a result, the sixth iteration of GRAVEYARD is a deeply emotive, stripped back and vintage affair.
Steeped in vintage tones, as it was recorded and edited on tape, 6 has a wonderfully uplifting warmth. From the album’s first psychedelic notes to its last gentle guitar solo, it’s packed with an elegance and grace that showcases a deeply soulful and emotional side to GRAVEYARD. It feels like each band member is pouring every emotion out of their hearts and into their instruments, accompanied by Joakim Nilsson‘s intensely emotive lyrics and gritty, bluesy vocal delivery. 6 embodies so many of the emotions we all experienced through that period to the point that it’s hard not to feel moved by it. With the hopeful message embedded in the lyrics of the album’s closer Rampant Fields, you’re hit with the realisation of how strong you had to be over that period.
Musically, it feels like GRAVEYARD have been studying the prog mastery of Dark Side Of The Moon/The Wall era PINK FLOYD alongside the blues-rooted rock greats of the 1970s like THE DOORS. The band have taken these vintage and poetic styles and imbued them with their signature style, making 6 a more guitar centric and lyrically heavy album compared to its predecessor Peace which focused more on the bass and grooves. The album is a perfect blend of kaleidoscopic psychedelia alongside invigorating, uplifting vibes and reflective, poetic melancholy. For all intents and purposes, 6 is essential medicinal and cathartic listening. It takes it back to the essentials of what music is for, and that’s to move you and change you in a way that no words could do justice.
GRAVEYARD have taken a sizeable step outside their comfort zone with 6, yet they simultaneously sound so comfortable in the uncomfortable, utilising this album as a perfect platform to showcase their intrinsic chemistry and remarkable ability to channel precisely what they’re feeling in a spectacularly honest, open and accessible way.
Opening up with the Godnatt, the album gets off to a psychedelic and emotive start. From the first PINK FLOYD-esque opening notes from Jonatan Larocca-Ramm and Nilsson’s guitars, you realise that this isn’t your standard GRAVEYARD album. Twice is an action packed, swaggering blues rock anthem, Oskar Bergenheim’s drum beats have a John Bonham-sized punch whilst they lock into Truls Mörck’s bass grooves and Nilsson’s gritty vocals begin to show 6’s soul in all its glory. I Follow You carries on the earthy blues from Twice and intertwines it with some of the previous psychedelia from Godnatt.
Breathe In Breathe Out is a reminder to hang in there when life gets tough; this is the point where the album really begins to open up and we can hear all the little nuances that GRAVEYARD have packed into 6 to make it emotionally impactful. The inclusion of gospel style backing vocals and swirling rock organs is a magnificent addition to the track. Sad Song is the melancholic song on the album; deeply layered and atmospheric, it leads into the rampant blues beast Just A Drop. Bright Lights follows Sad Song’s lead whilst building up tension and paying it off with luscious psychedelic vocals. No Way Out is a swaggering, soulful song that comes with a bucket of sass and uplifting choruses. The aforementioned Rampant Fields finishes 6 with a wonderful flourish of soul and smooth melodies, creating a nourishing, cathartic atmosphere.
GRAVEYARD have shown themselves in a new light, producing an album that harks back to the truly soulful days of blues-infused rock. Evocative and moving, GRAVEYARD remind us what it is like to truly feel our struggles and come through them with renewed hope and strength.
6 is set for release on September 29th via Nuclear Blast Records.
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