Friday, December 27, 2013

…all deities are nothing and dust: GRAVECODE NEBULA – ‘Sempiternal Void’

This past October Denver Doom Fest III steeped the Mile High City in two nights of suffocatingly heavy tunes from bands from around the US and even from the other side of the globe. Each and every band was killer in their own respect, but there was one in particular that plumbed depths so unfathomable and dark that they remained in a league all their own. Salt Lake City’s blackened funeral doom miscreants Gravecode Nebula gave the most harrowing and bleak performance of the festival. Stage presence and musicianship were artfully combined for a maximum effect of creepy atmospherics and nightmare psychedelia. Shortly after the band’s performance they released their full-length debut, ‘Sempiternal Void’, through the Baneful Genesis Records Bandcamp page and, in doing so, have demonstrated their unnatural ability to tune in sinister vibrations from the darkest reaches of the infernal abyss and channel them into a blackened doom cacophony of the highest order.

Perhaps putting their best foot forward ‘Sempiternal Void’ opens with “Bloodcraft of Andromeda”, a maelstrom of wailing guitars, guttural incantations, swirling noise, and occasional blasts of fury—the prime elements from which Gravecode Nebula performs their unholy, cosmic transmutations. “Bloodcraft of Andromeda” is the most textured track of the bunch and includes the most twists and turns. The vocals of The Zodiac—a highlight throughout the entirety of the album—also exhibit the greatest range by effortlessly shifting from hellish death growls, to tortured wails, to deranged gibbering. Easily one of my favorite tracks of the year. Though “Bloodcraft of Andromeda” is arguably the strongest, most serpentine track of the album, “Lunar Dionysian” is a close second by balancing blackened fury with otherworldly atmospherics. Opening with a melancholy lull in what can only be described as wind chimes gently clanging in Hell the majority of “Lunar Dionysian” simply shreds.

With six tracks and a runtime just over the hour mark ‘Sempiternal Void’ is an oppressive experience from start to finish, but despite the long runtime the album always remains engaging, albeit punishing at times. Gravecode Nebula has crafted one of the most interesting albums of the year, an album that is veiled in a seemingly impenetrable, noxious atmosphere. Before the journey ends the closing track, ‘Abhorrent Absorbant (The Salivation of Sand)’, does include sparse moments of undeniable beauty courtesy of tastefully used keyboards and effects. ‘Sempiternal Void’ is a dense album and it takes time to fully grasp it in its entirety, but for those willing to answer the call of the code it’s well worth it. Look for this to be pressed on vinyl in 2014...


Baneful Genesis Records Bandcamp

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