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GRAVE MIASMA – Abyss of Wrathful Deities (Dark Descent Records/Sepulchral Voice – 14 May 2021)

9 tracks – 52 min. 51 sec.

GRAVE MIASMA is a dark, occult Death Metal trinity hailing from England’s capital city. Following a demo, 3 EPs (‘Endless Pilgrimage’ being the latest one), and the debut full-length ‘Odori Sepulcrorum’, members D, Y, T, and special guest guitarist R strike back with ‘Abyss of Wrathful Deities’, a slab of cavernous, blackened Death/Doom Metal, which got released May 14th, 2021.

To fit the theme, it could have been traditional throat singing, yet they are ghastly growls escaping from Tibetan tombs and come forth from a bastard breed of the gutturals uttered by ASPHYX, MORGOTH, PESTILENCE, GORGUTS, and SKELETAL REMAINS.

Don’t expect your typical crunchy chainsaws as you would get to hear in the work of yet another Swedish Death Metal copycat, it does not sound anything like that at all. While by far not as omnipresent as in the work of PESTILENCE, ATHEIST, or SUFFERING HOUR, the six strings sometimes dare to make subtle jazzy jumps, with slight dissonant/atonal patterns – I am wondering if they would be played in a Tibetan scale? The mystical ambiance is somewhat uncomfortable and despondent. Fingerlicking leads and desolate tremolo solos in the vein of old OBITUARY catapult you to scorched, apocalyptic landscapes, or rather forsaken, snowy mountain tops in GRAVE MIASMA’s case.

GRAVE MIASMA is not showing off technical skills or does not abuse excessive blast beats on this record, instead, instruments are treated to serve the purpose of the song -and the song only. The drums are sensibly beaten and sound organic. If the pace is calm, so are the drums. Double-bass drums kick in at the right timing only. 

GRAVE MIASMA is not your average Joe. The arrangements are refreshing and vary in velocity, sometimes the locomotive at full or moderate speed brakes to introduce impending, sluggish doom-laden chords to summon the likes of INCANTATION, FATHER BEFOULED, SPECTRAL VOICE, or DISMA. ‘Abyss of Wrathful Deities’ offers you way more than merely a collection of repetitive riffs, instead, indulge yourself in GRAVE MIASMA’s dosed instrumental combinations and composed (de)compositions. Variation is key on this record, there are tons to discover. Musically, it is not all about amplified violence: besides R’s acoustic ‘Interlude’, Y even fittingly employs sitar/saz on ‘Rogyapa’ and ‘Kingdoms Beyond Kailash’, just like bands like NILE or MELECHESH blend Metal with ethnical passages.

The song titles are intriguing, to say the least: ‘Rogyapa’ refers to the ‘body breakers’ who disassemble the bodies of the deceased in Tibetan sky burial rituals before they are left to decompose and to be devoured by the vultures on a mountain top. That mountain might be mount Kailash in Tibet, where Shiva resided, as in ‘Kingdoms Beyond Kailash’. 

Even though PEDRO FILIPE from ARS MORIENDEE crafted the traditional cover art with earth colors, the illustration evokes a demonic effigy and abyssal visions.

The recording, production, and mastering at ORGONE STUDIOS sought the perfect balance between a clean professional sound and an obscure underground vibe with sufficient rough edges.  

This shamanic ritual is best listened to solitarily in a candle-lit room aromatized with some burnt incense. Death Metal addicts can safely order without regrets. With the obscure litanies on ‘Abyss of Wrathful Deities’, GRAVE MIASMA transcends the mediocrity of Death Metal sprawl and is highly recommended for fans of CRUCIAMENTUM, DEAD CONGREGATION, NECROS CHRISTOS, SONNE ADAM, MORTEM, and DAMNATION.

9.3 out of 10 skulls