LORD OF THE GRAVE (Green Vapour) CD
Without doubt, 'Green Vapour' is one of the heaviest albums I have heard in 2012. The second full-length of Switzerland's LORD OF THE GRAVE is relentlessly, massive, and thick, and it feels, when listening to it, that a hole could easily crack in the ground. In contrast to this the debut album 'Raunacht' (review here) is considerably more tame and less gigantic. 'Green Vapour' sounds like they locked themselves in a dark room, turned off all the lights, smoked as much weed as they could get hold of, turned the amps up all the way, and recorded five crushing tracks. Before they have done this, LORD OF THE GRAVE may have spent a lot of time in listening to Sleep and Electric Wizard. By this I do not mean that 'Green Vapour' is just a pale shadow of both bands, but their influences on the five songs of this album can't be ignored. But it must also be pointed out that LORD OF THE GRAVE add their own fuzzy touch to it.
Amongst other things, this is due to bassist Michael Greilinger, whose powerful bass playing plays a major role here. This is perhaps what it would sound like if Lemmy would join a doom band. But also guitarist/vocalist Rob doesn't cut any corners and delivers a huge wall of fuzz, while his vocals are relatively low in the mix. Despite their incredible heaviness, they are slightly, dare I say it, a bit laid-back, or, well, stoned. Even in those moments where they increase the speed, LORD OF THE GRAVE stay calm. To prevent misunderstandings I would like to point out that you won't find any breakneck intense tempos and rip-roaring dynamics on 'Green Vapour'. They draw their strength from earth-shattering amps and hypnotic riff mantras what makes it hard to distinguish the songs from each other. In other words, the album runs together almost as one piece. On these grounds, it is reasonable to assume that this was the intention of LORD OF THE GRAVE, because 'Green Vapour' works extremely well as a cohesive entity.
In addition, they are very good in using a minimalist set of notes and just letting them reverberate into your skull, each chord punctuated and powerful. Now and then the band integrates a nice portion of 1970's heavy rock in the form of bluesy guitar solos and Sabbath-esque grooves, but generally LORD OF THE GRAVE has nothing to do with the current 1970's rock revival. All in all the tracks are of consistent quality and rarely let up, and when it does, it's always to build up into another weed-fueled riff session. Furthermore the album has a wonderfully fat, crunchy sound that creates a kind of a hazy feeling. Personally I think 'Green Vapour' is a very good album and a nice heavy slab of morbid fun. It's just too bad that Michael Greilinger has left LORD OF THE GRAVE, because he was an important part of the line-up. So, it remains all the more interesting to see how it will go on with the band.