Second Grave – “Self-Titled” EP

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As far as new bands go my favourite find this year has to be Second Grave. Some may remember Krista Van Guilder of Warhorse / Lucubro fame from ten to fifteen years ago. Well, she’s returned with those distinctive powerful and passionate vocals, big riffs, plenty of groove, melodic lead breaks and a hard-hitting rhythm section. The EP has obviously been crafted with painstaking effort. There are distinct halves with introductions to each doing exactly what they should. Of the four songs proper, “Covet” is dark and thoughtful with many twists and turns throughout the guts of its nine minute gauntlet. “Mountains of Madness” is a Lovecraftian riff monster with an infectious chorus, epic leads, twin guitar grandeur and a frightening finale. Somehow the shorter “Soul Extinction” reminds me of Butch-era Penance particularly in the heartfelt delivery of the chorus. It just oozes anguish. Whilst it makes no sense to talk in terms of favourites, final cut, “Divide and Conquer” is a bloody impressive close to a flawless EP. The drive, the groove and the vocals. Top notch. Then a poignant refrain puts me in mind of “New Dark Age” by Solstice for reasons unknown. And then the guitars return, build, build and build before erupting into a maelstrom of Heavy Metal excellence. I need to hear and see this live, foot on a monitor, back arched and fist raised high clenching the finest fermented apples. Join me…

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