Graveripper – Seasons Dreaming Death Review

[Cover art by Adam Burke]

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to careen down a mountain on a bike only one day after feeling confident enough to remove your training wheels? Or what it would be like to drive a 25-year-old car on the Autobahn at full speed, listening to everything rattle and eagerly awaiting something to go flying off the old jalopy? Or what those final seconds would feel like if your roller coaster’s brakes gave out and you knew you’d be careening through the sky in a mess of steel, blood and screams at any moment?

Release date: August 25, 2023. Label: Wise Blood Records
That’s the feeling that listening to Graveripper’s debut album Seasons Dreaming Death will give you and presumably with a significantly lower risk rate, aside from the high risk to your neck health. With only three years as a band under their belt, this Indianapolis quartet has fully found its voice, and it’s one hell of a voice at that. The genre tag of black thrash can turn a lot of people away, but it also isn’t particularly descriptive since there’s quite a variety of approaches one can take within it. Craven Idol approaches it with back metal’s grandiosity and long songs while unleashing bits of thrash throughout. Graveripper, on the other hand, well, RIPS. Speed is the name of the game as the band rarely pulls back to even midtempo. The band sports a Motörhead spirit with a smear of eyeblack to give their songs a dash of grimness.

Even though the primary architecture of the album is built from thrash with short, fast songs, black metal flourishes, riffs, and passages are distributed almost evenly with the thrash moments but in such a smooth way as to only be additive. In “Ripped And Torn,” a breakdown passage has an ominous flowing guitar like a mid-career Immortal with crash cymbals raining around it. “An Influx of Fear” mets out flourishes of tremolo within the main riff that only last for a second or two, poking the ears like a bee sting out of nowhere. Closer “Only Coldness” relishes in the cold heart of winter more than any other track with a somber main riff mined from the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

As stated, however, the whole point is how successfully balanced the thrash and black metal elements are. “Divine Incantations” blasts through a steady stream of transforming riffs that volley back and forth between the two styles wildly enough to give you whiplash trying to follow along. Even better, that song is an absolute barnburner made for the kind of limb-cracking pits Razor had going during Hell’s Heroes back in March. “Into The Grave” opens the whole affair with a pure mean-mugging thrash riff that chugs as much as it slices while also sporting a killer little punk beatdown. The title track is one of those uncommon mid-paced songs that has a chugging riff that revs up as it goes along; it’s thick and elastic in a way that has a whiff of Meshuggah without all the time signature fuckery. “Resist Against the Light” has this killer descending dalliances on the fretboard that could the soundtrack to a pissed off jumping spider as it leaps down a ladder aiming to bite your toe off. “Red Skies” is a standout track on the album as it’s primary riff proffers a sense of uplifting triumph that doesn’t appear anywhere else on Seasons Dreaming Death.

Throughout it all, Chris Pilotte’s bass aggressively rumbles underneath and is occasionally given its moment to shine through the mix. Keegan Hrybyk’s peppers in a handful of potent leads that are in and out in a matter of seconds, but each one has a different flavor that appropriately spices up the song it’s part of. Similarly, they are spread out nicely on the tracklist to ensure you don’t get too many songs in a row without one. Corey Parks, who also plays rhythm guitar, sports a surprisingly clear bark that will surely make it so crowds can easily sing along to these choruses whenever the band starts working these into the live rotation.

All in all, Graveripper’s debut is a perfect summer album as it burns brightly and shreds heavily.

Posted by Spencer Hotz

Admirer of the weird, the bizarre and the heavy, but so are you. Why else would you be here?

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