Review by Seraphim Dibble, photos provided by 8 Vacant Graves
Some half jokingly refer to Asheville as the Boulder of North Carolina. Much like its Colorado relative, Asheville is a relatively quiet mountain town nestled in the foothills. They both have large art scenes and are known for populations that love tea. Asheville also has a longstanding legacy with music and famous venues, though. One of the latest things to come out of that legacy is metal band 8 Vacant Graves.
Despite recently going through a short hiatus, the four-piece group has just released their new EP, Grave 1: Root Origin. “Lucid Nightmare” is the EP’s first track. With a heavy, growling intro, it prepares the listener for singer Anthony Worley’s guttural vocals. 8 Vacant Graves is two parts nu-metal and one part death metal. This shows through the structuring of songs like “Lucid Nightmare” and “Anxiety”. The band compares themselves to groups like Slipknot and Korn, and compositionally, there are definitely similarities. Riffs and drum beats resemble Slipknot, and certainly both bands use heavy screaming. However, there’s something about 8 Vacant Graves that seems to bring it closer to the death metal half of things than nu metal.
This only serves to separate them from their contemporaries, though. The excellent track “Hate Thyself” feature riffs and verses that are notably faster and heavier than the previous track. Also noticeable on it is the bass guitar, giving the song a little extra force. “Mastadon Hunter” follows this trend, opening with an intense drum fill and sliding straight into the first verse. While being a blistering fast song, it is not as short as “Hate Thyself”.
The tempo slows down a bit for the intro to “Slay the Masses”. That doesn’t last long, though. The song is a raw and visceral display of aggression through music. The screams and growls approach squealing-screaming at points, and the audible bass guitar makes a second visit to the album. The album closes with “Hope(less)”. Somehow, despite maintaining speeds faster than a sports car, this song also gives the EP a much-needed feeling of winding down. Whether that’s because the song feels like it is coming down from higher notes to lower ones or some other factor, its hard to say. But 8 Vacant Graves made an excellent choice in closing Grave 1 with this song.
8 Vacant Graves self-describes as unapologetically metal. They are not wrong in that description. Grave 1: Root Origin is an excellent introductory work for the band, and is sure to please listeners. While it is not easy to discern the lyrics, that is not necessarily a unique problem. It is something that is well known to screamed genres of metal, and doesn’t detract from a face-melting listening experience. Grave 1: Root Origin was released today, so make sure you pick it up from 8 Vacant Grave’s bandcamp page today!