When it comes to epic riffing, sublime bass grooves that Geezer Butler would be proud of, and the smashing of decibel meters with reckless abandon, GRAVE BATHERS make their formidable presence known wherever they go. On their debut album Rock ‘N’ Roll Fetish, tales of bloodshed are accompanied by the vivid imagery of retro horror films and all set to the back drop of gut punching psychedelic doom as the band go on a sonic rampage that leaves none alive. There is no path left untravelled in GRAVE BATHERS‘ quest to unleash all hell whilst letting their inner kinky devil satisfy its insatiable lust to the point of ultimate depravity.
The immediate observation you will notice with Rock ‘N’ Roll Fetish is how devilishly extravagant it is for a psychedelic doom record. A plethora of styles and influences (most notably BLACK SABBATH and PENTAGRAM, with a dash of LED ZEPPELIN for good measure) are ingrained in the album’s metaphorical psyche. Should Rock ‘N’ Roll Fetish take humanoid form it would definitely be a beast that would out wrestle Frankenstein’s monster. Horror analogies aside, GRAVE BATHERS are masterful musicians. The absolutely ballistic blend of butt-shaking, swaggering hard rock, mesmerising heavy psych and epic, earth shattering doom is a lethally effective combination of spine-tingling brilliance at the pinnacle of what doom is. With that in mind, the album was captured live-to-tape at the analogue-centric Memphis Magnetic recording facility and what is striking is how fresh it feels and the weight that that analogue warmth gives to the riffs and drums. The buzzsaw fuzz permeates every corner of Rock ‘N’ Roll Fetish, and its valve amp overtones permeate your soul, juxtaposing the vividly strange, horror-themed lyrics with a sense of warm homeliness within the band’s amplifiers.
Given this album is nearly an hour and a half long, it may seem like a daunting prospect to spin it on the record player. However, time flies when you’re listening to Rock ‘N’ Roll Fetish. GRAVE BATHERS have captured an exciting and infectious energy alongside captivating songwriting and a variety of dynamics which will keep you stimulated on this crazy rollercoaster of an album. Stacked full of psychedelic layers and effortlessly transitioning between hard rock, psychedelic, stoner, doom and blues, GRAVE BATHERS demonstrate their supreme chemistry with expert cohesion in their passionate performances of the songs. With sublime bass work and tight drumming – these rhythmic foundations provided by Davis M. Shubs and Sean Lafferty respectively – the dual guitars of riff masters Jaret Salvat-Rivera and Steve Capitanio have been allowed full freedom of expression. Both guitarists are well versed in old school rock and roll, which helps them create a dynamic, exciting and ball-busting dual guitar assault through out the album. Meanwhile, Drew Robinson’s gravelly Robert Plant-style vocals bring the album’s themes to life with soaring, gritty melodies.
With so much frantic and boundless energy, there are so many highlights to this album that would take a whole other review to write. One of the stand out songs is of course the title track, in which the aforementioned inner kinky devil the band have comes out to play. It’s a dirty, sleazy track with real sex appeal as it goes through a variety of sex dungeon equipment favourites. Vampire Of The Rock Operator is the band’s token ten-minute epic; eerie and spooky, you can’t help but imagine yourself sat in a graveyard in the depths of autumn waiting to be visited by Dracula himself. Nordic Funeral is the epitome of psychedelic doom – slow, spaced out and ritualistic; with discussions of libations and hell, this song is so vividly evocative of a Viking funeral procession, and the epic riffs give this character a fitting send off for sure. Taser Shields opens up with a Jimi Hendrix-style psychedelic blues style flutter that makes you nostalgic for the first time you heard the legendary guitarist. With a funky groove this one is a definite ear worm.
With so much variety and an audible passion for playing ball-busting rock ‘n’ roll, GRAVE BATHERS are an exciting and exhilarating band to listen to. Rock ‘N’ Roll Fetish is a fast-paced, brilliantly executed album of psychedelic doom’s most eccentric delights. GRAVE BATHERS have made a statement with their debut full-length. Ambitious and electrifying, its retro charm alongside masterful musicianship fills the heart with utmost joy. Simply put, a breathtaking debut.
Rock ‘N’ Roll Fetish is set for release on August 5th via Seeing Red Records.
Like GRAVE BATHERS on Facebook.
The post ALBUM REVIEW: Rock ‘N’ Roll Fetish – Grave Bathers appeared first on Distorted Sound Magazine.