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GRACELESS – Where Vultures Know Your Name (Raw Skull Recordz – 27 March 2020)

8 tracks – Duration: 45 min. 37 sec.

This Dutch Death Metal band first got introduced to me during their show with ENTRAILS and REJECT THE SICKNESS at Muziekcafé Elpee Deinze, Belgium. I always had a weak spot for Dutch Death Metal, so their no-nonsense and raw sound convinced me in no time. Even though the band from Leiden in the Netherlands only formed in 2016, the old school style evokes the golden era of the early nineties. The debut full -length ‘Shadowlands’ and the split EP with GROND ‘Endless Spiral of Terror’ went ahead of ‘Where Vultures Know Your Name’.

‘Lugdunum Batavorum’ are the first two words Kreft harshly growls on the threatening and sluggish opener which has some leads in the vein of the mighty BOLT THROWER and which fades out with slowly pounding drum beats. The catchy ‘Retaliation of the Wicked’ shifts a gear up with slightly faster drums and it has a chorus with aggressive and somewhat Glen Benton alike dual vocals (‘Revocate the Agitator’) and a high sing-along (or should I say grunt-along) factor.
Aside from the vocals, ​’Commander of Christ’ too reminds me of BOLT THROWER with its introductory lead, which is throwing you back straight to ‘The IVth Crusade’ and ‘For Victory’, and its mid-paced riffs and double bass drums. On ​’Nine Days of Mourning’, after a long intro brought you in a trance of melancholy, you gradually get immersed in swallowing dark, intense emotions like only CELTIC FROST (am I detecting some resemblances with ‘Ground’?) /TRIPTYKON manages to convey. ‘Here Be Dragons’ has that crunchy GOREFEST groove, teleporting you to the glory of ‘False’. The title track ‘Where Vultures Know Your Name’ surprises with a calm piece of piano, followed by PARADISE LOST (‘Lost Paradise’ period) /ASPHYX infused doom-laden riffs. The next 5 minutes invite you to bang your head on the fastest track of the album ​’Warpath’, whereas the gloomy ending ​’Embrace the Rain’ leaves you behind in despair.

The magnificent cover art made by Alex Tartsus finishes it off nicely.

This album has everything I love about Death Metal.​ The balanced song-writing guarantees the vital variation. This is pure and honest material that will make you lick your thumbs and fingers.

​9 out of 10 skulls