It hardly seems like a coincidence that Swedish rockers Graveyard chose the fall to release their fourth full-length effort, Innocence & Decadence. Just as shimmery summer days begin their slow transition into dark winter nights, the band, too, is ripe with change. After a lineup swap that saw co-founding bassist Rikard Edlund out and founding member Truls Mörck back in, one had to wonder what kind of an impact it might have on Graveyard's brand of '70s inspired blues-rock.
Clutching at the future. It doesn’t start promisingly: Magnetic Shunk seems like a routine stoner romp. But then halfway through it soars into a joyous blues shuffle, and from there this album never falters.. ADVERTISING
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Though they’ve netted comparisons to everyone from Black Sabbath to Thin Lizzy, if there is an analog in the history of hard rock to the Swedish group Graveyard, it is probably Judas Priest. Both bands have roots in blues, both have a fondness for topping caramel-sweet melodies with gravel and tacks, and both know precisely how to ride the edge of bombast and camp without ever becoming the Darkness. On their fourth album, Graveyard root around even deeper in their record collections.
Graveyard is a band best heard in passing. Imagine you’re downtown at night, strolling past some dive bar that would be unappealing if not for the sounds coming from inside: bluesy and urgent, with a certain understanding of a time you never knew. Your curiosity is piqued. You walk in, buy a drink, and find a place to stand to enjoy the show.
When Graveyard first appeared, the Swedish quartet was hailed for its bluesy proto-metal sound, somewhere between Blue Cheer and what music nerds imagine Black Sabbath sounded like when it was still called Earth. Four albums in, however, the band has transcended the hard rock specialty aisle to just rock and roll. That’s not to say Innocence & Decadence doesn’t still fly the 70s retro flag Graveyard has proudly hung from its pole – just that it’s expanded beyond its metallic roots into more eclectic and, yes, accessible territory.
Toronto fans of Gothenburg blues-metallers Graveyard got a taste of the band’s long-awaited new material at their rare local appearance in May at the Garrison. It was a tantalizing hint of a future of infinite bluesy guitar solos, grittily delivered vocal melodies and badass riffs and groove. Their fourth album delivers all of that with a live-off-the-floor production approach that captures the energy and swagger of their shows.