Despite what a title like Peace suggests, Graveyard’s fifth full-length may be their most aggressive album to date. It features the same 70s rock influences that have defined the Swedes’ decade-plus run, but presents them in more direct fashion. The guitars are heavier, the drums are punchier, and the vocals pack in a huskier howl throughout. The ever-lingering haze keeps the listener from getting too alienated, but there are times where it feels like there’s a completely new band at work.
Going along with that, these songs are among the hookiest that the band has ever written. The pounding Cream-esque swings on “Cold Love” are great, and I love the driving blues of “Please Don’t,” but “Walk On” makes for a powerful centerpiece thanks to its slower shuffle that builds up to a subtle yet infectious chorus. It is a little concerning how much “A Sign of Peace” sounds like a Clutch song, but I can roll with it.
Of course, the band still gets plenty of opportunities to slink through more subdued textures. “See the Day” works as a pretty, stripped down ballad, while “Del Manic” and “Bird of Paradise” operate as smooth protometal waltzes; the former of which I can oddly imagine Tom Waits singing on. The closing “Low (I Wouldn’t Mind)” also proves to be a highlight, marrying its mysterious tone to a persistent freight train rhythm that somehow avoids derailment.
If Peace isn’t Graveyard’s best album overall, then it’s at least their strongest since 2011’s Hisingen Blues. The rather meat and potatoes style can make it easy to overlook compared to flashier psych blues bands out there, but there’s plenty of memorable songwriting and more energy than they ever had before. If you hadn’t heard Graveyard before, this should make for a solid introduction.
“See the Day”