Graveyard Make a Triumphant Return with Peace
Rock N’ Roll is alive, people!
Written by Caleb Kerns
Whenever I hear people claiming that rock ‘n roll has died or become soulless, I always have to interject. There’s a plethora of authentic rock bands today, but you most likely won’t hear them on the radio. Case in point – Graveyard. These guys create bluesy rock that sounds like it was spawned in a Louisiana swamp circa 1970, which makes it hard to believe that they come all the way from the frostbitten land of Sweden.
Graveyard formed in the city of Gothenburg in 2006, and have since toured alongside big-name rock bands such as Soundgarden, Mastodon, Clutch, and CKY, among others. Vocalist, guitarist, and founding member Joakim Nilsson has a history of playing in psychedelic stoner rock bands such as Norrsken and Albatross, and sought to continue that vision through the music of Graveyard. Their sound shows great reverence for classic rock without sounding too derivative, adding their own unique touch that stands out from their contemporaries. They managed to pump out four albums before taking a brief sabbatical in September of 2016, citing “all so classic reasons.” Four months later they were back together with a new drummer and began writing later that year.
The new album Peace just dropped on May 25 via Nuclear Blast Records. The band kicks things off with the aptly named “It Ain’t Over Yet,” a high-energy song that proves to fans that they haven’t lost touch with their roots. There’s a lot of raw emotion heard in the track, and the rest of the album follows suit. The song even features a light use of keys to add some nice retro ambiance. Nilsson’s vocals are a bit more harsh than what he typically utilizes, but in the next track “Cold Love” we hear him bring back the fiery grittiness that fans are used to hearing.
After soothing listeners with the brief melodic interlude “See the Day,” Graveyard kicks things back into high gear with “Please Don’t.” The verses are driven by a heavily blues inspired guitar riff intertwined with a heavy chorus and soulful guitar solo from lead guitarist Jonatan Larocca-Ramm. This was was first single released in promotion of the album, which was an appropriate choice given that it contains most of the elements heard throughout the album. This was followed by the release of the next song “The Fox” as their second single. It’s a short song spanning about two-and-a-half minutes, but man does it hit hard. It’s straight to the point and doesn’t contain any fluff. While it might not be their deepest cut, I keep finding myself coming back to it whenever I want a quick fix of fervently impassioned hard rock.
Nilsson’s vocals exhibit great diversity throughout the album. The difference in his tone heard in the soothing, mellow track “Del Manic” and its predecessor “Bird of Paradise” almost sounds like an entirely different singer. His voice has a way of illustrating serene landscapes, howling rhapsodies, and everything in-between. Newcomer Oskar Bergenheim makes his first appearance as the drummer of Graveyard, and proves himself to be a worthy addition to the group. The band go on to wrap things up with their longest track on the album, “Low (I Wouldn’t Mind).” The song takes listeners on a final journey through anticipatory build-ups and vivacious choruses.
Graveyard has managed to make a triumphant return to the scene, proving that they’ve still got what it takes to pump out genuinely authentic rock music. While the album is not without its flaws, it’s drenched with raw emotion making it an honest addition to their discography that’s worthy of your attention. Either way, I’m ecstatic to see the group back together and highly anticipate what they might bring to the table in the future. Fans of stoner, psychedelic, and blues-based rock would be doing themselves a favor by getting their hands on a copy of Peace.