“The Curse That Is”

By Dr. Abner Mality

How much is too much? Listen to “The Curse That Is” and you might just find out. This act hits you with a colossal wall of miserable metal and just keeps piling it on until you cry “uncle”. And that’s just what I did. My brain synapses started to shut down and collapse in the face of so much misery and I’m betting yours will, too.

Here we have a band that probably listens to Eyehategod for a laugh and that constructs long, LONG tunes of dragging sludge riffs that seemingly have no end. I can’t say for a minute that Graves At Sea isn’t a heavy band or that they are untalented, but this huge, ugly album is too huge and ugly for its own good.The first two tracks clock in at over 11 minutes each of suffocating crush with blood curdling vocals that sound like a coyote being roasted on a spit. When “Tempest” shows up at just 7 minutes and featuring a more up-tempo attack, it’s almost a relief. By the time the first 3 songs are done, the album is already longer than “Reign in Blood” by Slayer. Well, strap yourself in, bunky, because you got about an hour left to go! “The Ashes Made Her Beautiful” crawls on for over 15 minutes and I was ready to tap out at the end of it. The riffing all starts to sound the same by now and even the interjection of somber acoustic instruments just adds to the misery.

I quite liked the relatively brief pounding thunder of “This Mental Sentence” and “Waco 177” has one hell of a brutal sludge riff, but in totality, you get burned out listening to Graves at Sea and not in a good way. Especially when the last track is another 14 minute monster that sounds just like what has gone before.

These guys are out for total heaviness and misery and they achieve their goal. But few are the souls who can listen to this in one sitting without having their brain transformed to mush.