From the depths of Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis emerge the city’s latest scourge, Mother of Graves. They might not look like they died in the 1890s, but trust us, the quintet of Ben [Sandman], Brandon [Howe], Chris [Morrison], TJ, Don are from another era. Or, at least they sound like they are. Mother of Graves is a direct response to the “Peaceville 3,” nascent stage Katatonia, and recent bats out of the belfry, Cloak and Khemmis. This blend of ancient and contemporary creates a unique crossroads sound, where the deathly and the depressive form otherworldly ententes. It only seems appropriate that the Mother Of Graves name was derived from the Latvian protector of cemeteries (Kapu māte).
The band’s new EP — out January via newly formed Wise Blood Records — indeed is the stuff of melodic (the dark and evil kind) legend. In Somber Dreams pulls in close Katatonia’s Sounds of Decay EP, the weight of loss from My Dying Bride’s Like Gods of the Sun, and the angst of October Tide’s Rain Without End. But Mother Of Graves aren’t just on the blue side. They have a diehard death metal foundation, all ivy-covered tombstones and the scent of funereal petrichor. The track Decibel is streaming, “The Urn,” is all parts of the above, riven (and emanating) from the back of the mausoleum vault. That In Somber Dreams was mastered by Swedish sage Dan Swanö (Katatonia, Opeth) means more to the process — of prolonging despondent death — than is evident here.
“We are ecstatic to team up with the fine folks at Decibel for this premiere, and couldn’t be more thankful,” says vocalist Brandon Howe. “‘The Urn’ follows a man on his quest for freedom from his earthly vessel. Approaching the end of his journey, he holds closely his last sorrowful relic, and what recollections remain in a world void of familiarity. A welcoming of death where all else has ceased, if you will. I wouldn’t say In Somber Dreams is necessarily a concept album to the fullest extent, but there was a steady theme that each track was written around lyrically. This song lies second to last, leading smoothly into the grand finale. I feel this is our most progressively driven song thus far. Ben [Sandman] and Chris [Morrison] really nailed the overall mood with their well-constructed melodies. It has a lot of great hooks and memorability in the riffs and I did my best to keep the vocal layout within a similar vein.”
“‘The Urn,’ musically anyway, was meant to portray a cold hopelessness, Chris Morrison, guitars, adds. “The working title was ‘Cold.’ The feeling of grief was definitely there when I wrote the main parts. It was influenced by those early Swedes we all know and love. Then Ben [Sandman] came and added his flourishes on the more driving parts. To me it fits the vibe of a lot of the stuff we do that is bleak with a glimmer of hope.”
Join Decibel and Mother of Graves in the bleakest death…
** Mother Of Graves’ new EP, In Somber Dreams, is out January 2021 on Wise Blood Records. Pre-orders can be found HERE. While you’re at it, LIKE the band on Facebook.