It is difficult to properly label the music London-based five-piece band GRAVIL offer up in their latest full-length album, No More Forgiveness. Following the release of their critically acclaimed 2013 album, Thoughts of a Rising Sun, GRAVIL have only refined and improved the harsh fusion of technically proficient musicianship and sincere anger so vividly present in their music. No More Forgiveness doesn’t so much weave a tale of unimaginable loss and betrayal as force it down the throat of the listener, pulling absolutely no punches in what is an aggressive, punishing album from start to finish.
The opening track, Detonate, kicks things off with a ferocious onslaught of riffs and high tempo hostility. Soon thereafter, Are We Alive takes up the mantle with memorable riffs and a groovier, increasingly technical offering of powerful choruses and verses. I Am The Blood quickens the pace of the album, synchronising both clean singing and the CHIMARIA-esque vocals of Grant in a combination which demonstrates the ability of GRAVIL to navigate the difficult no-mans land between utilising clean vocals in a way which compliments the overall sound of a track and one which detracts from its atmosphere.
Plagues, Thieves and Murderers ominous and foreboding opening propagates a sense of profound unease in the listener. Written by drummer Perrin, the appropriation of cold, almost DSBM style ambience throughout the song – combined with crushing breakdowns – really exemplifies the diversity of GRAVIL’s musical ability. Locate the Traitor and Choke in Silence both revert to the style of the first three songs of the album; gruelling, breakneck-paced riffs and the inclusion of sporadic symphonic key elements make the halfway point of No More Forgiveness a punitive, yet rewarding affair, breaking up the ambience with an offering of pure rage.
The seventh track, Fractured, Divided, abruptly changes the otherwise overwhelmingly aggressive atmosphere of the album, adding an almost ethereal element to the music with the introduction of the soaring vocals of Theresa Smith from METAPRISM and more melodic, eerie riffs to juxtapose alongside the harsh, shrieked vocals of vocalist Grant Stacey. A haunting, yet strangely hopeful number, this track is a beautiful reprieve between the overwhelming hostility of the previous songs and really showcases the breadth of GRAVIL’s ability to variate the atmosphere of their music without compromising the inherent sorrow which inspires this album.
Decommissioned absolutely lambasts the subject of its vitriolic assault. Juxtaposed between existing as a slow, chugging monolith of a track and breakneck paced fury, listening to this makes you feel like you have been hit by a freight train. Seriously venomous, with blistering guitar and drum sections, Decommissioned is executed in such a manner that one can feel the dissemination of absolute anger seeping through the speakers. Featuring a fantastic lyric video from Very Metal Art, this song encapsulates the concepts of betrayal and anger present throughout this album beautifully.
Drawing the album to a close, Forever Is A Prison continues the established tradition of fast-paced, technically proficient musicianship found throughout this album. One Eyed King builds itself up, opening relatively slowly and within seconds splintering into a fast paced, pit-inducing riff before immediately dropping into a slower, groovier interlude. In this song Grant Stacey finally showcases the extent of his vocal abilities, varying his previously shrieked vocals in favour of a slightly maniacal dialogue dripping with malice, which brings this album to its tumultuous and rewarding end.
Overall, No More Forgiveness is a solid album, and GRAVIL proves once again they are more than worthy of the high praise that they receive. No tracks on this album are uninteresting, and several standout tracks leave the listener furiously smashing the repeat button; GRAVIL has created an album which caters to fans of technical, punitive metal without becoming superfluous guitar masturbation or being boring. This writer would seriously recommend GRAVIL‘s No More Forgiveness to anyone who is a fan of angry, heartfelt music.
No More Forgiveness is set for release on May 5th via self-release.
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