"Lights Out"

By The Great Sun Jester

 The opener, "An Industry of Murder", is carried into the stratosphere by a relentless riff and vocalist Joakim Nilsson’s impassioned bellowing. The lyrics aren't poetry - instead, they are intelligent, unsparing, and tough-minded. Normally, I disdain political content in music. It is either badly delivered no matter the "rightness" of the message, at the expense of the song or, in other instances, rings as inauthentic as a country singer crooning paeans to Old Glory. What redeems Graveyard's political and social content is the fierce conviction behind their music and lyrical message.

"Slow Motion Countdown" is a fantastic song on every level. Many bands have a strong sense of dynamics, but Graveyard is on another level. Listen to how the slow, careful build of the song enhances the impact of its crescendos and how the band averts falling into cliché by not including a climatic guitar solo in the coda. You never notice the lack. This is a band, through and through, and their songwriting approach on a composition like this is practically painterly. "The Suits, The Law, & The Uniforms" has a stripped down, raw line of attack centered around Nilsson's confident, bluesy singing, hard-driving drumming, and a generous supply of biting lead guitar. "Hard Times Lovin'" is a wrenching blues surrounding a tour de force vocal and more superb guitar playing. The band again demonstrates astonishing compositional subtlety as, rather than playing this as a straight-ahead blues song with predictable climaxes, they weave the music into a spare, subtle backdrop for Nilsson's gutsy vocal.