ALBUM REVIEW: Grave Lines – Communion


Continuing down the same nihilistic and misanthropic path of their previous releases, southern England’s Grave Lines are back with their third bouncy and joyously upbeat full length, Communion (New Heavy Sounds). Taking the doom of Neurosis, the post-punk rock of Killing Joke and gothic punk tendencies of Bauhaus, the perpetually disgruntled four-piece return with a little more ambient experimentalism which, however momentarily, relieves at least some of the crushing isolation.

A fiercely impressive record which explores the bleakness and alienation of human consciousness, curtain raiser ‘Gordian’ opens with a burst of feedback and a bunch of greasy seventies Black Sabbath riffs, guitarist Oliver Irongiant (Sea Bastard) delivering the doom while vocalist Jake Harding shouts and bellows until his voice box all but disintegrates. After easing you in with a simple but smooth bass line courtesy of four stringer Stgrn’ (Staggerin’) Matt, ‘Argyraphaga’ owes much to pre-Depeche Mode era Paradise Lost before grinding to a sludgy climax.

At a muscular eleven minutes in length, ‘Lycaenid’ is the longest cut on the record but really doesn’t feel like it, the song building from subtle ambience and gentle vocals towards a slow, raging middle section before ending with melancholic vocals and rueful acoustics. The much shorter interlude ‘Tachinid’ is all abrasive synths and aggressively portentous sermonizing before the towering melancholy of ‘Carcini’ takes over, its initial melodies sounding surprisingly uplifting before taking a turn down darker and more familiar confrontational avenues.

Winding up the album, the post-punk hardcore of ‘Broodsac’ is followed by the duality of ‘Sinensis’, the closing cut offering a moment of tranquillity before erupting with tension and existential angst, Sam Chase‘s drums being particularly effective here, sounding heavier than a sackful of angry mammoths.

Benefiting from a dynamic and modern yet dirtily retro production job from Nave Studio’s Andy Hawkins, Communion might be heavy on misery, doom and a general antipathy towards the human condition but its baleful yet soaring melodies are sure to remain in your head long after the album has ended.

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8 / 10