Graveyard, Peace: And the Price of It

Posted in Reviews on May 22nd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

graveyard peace

It has been a tumultuous few years for Swedish boogie kings Graveyard. In Sept. 2016, the four-piece announced their breakup. It followed the release of 2015’s fourth album, Innocence and Decadence (review here), which was more defined by its plays toward melancholy soul than anything the four-piece had done previously, and with an effective-immediately disbanding and string of cancelled tour dates, it sent shockwaves through the heavy underground in Europe and beyond, as Graveyard‘s influence had by that point already spread across borders to nearly a whole generation of retro and/or boogie-minded bands. It was a genuine surprise, and not the last.

A few months later, in Jan. 2017, they pulled the rug out from their own breakup by getting back together, and for another shocker, announced that guitarist/vocalist Joakim Nilsson, guitarist Jonathan Ramm and still relatively recently returned bassist Truls Mörck had parted ways with drummer Axel Sjöberg (now of Big Kizz), and replaced him with Oskar Bergenheim, who makes his first appearance on the band’s fifth long-player, Peace (on Nuclear Blast). It was no minor change. This wasn’t just a band swapping out one expendable drummer or another. Anyone who ever saw Graveyard live could tell you Sjöberg was a major part of their sound and stage presence both, and as a founder of the band, he’d been there over the years as the inimitable chemistry developed between them. Whatever Peace — its title perhaps aspirational given all the madness of the few years prior — would have to offer, it was going to be a new Graveyard standing behind its delivery. And so it is.

Or at very least it’s one that sounds refreshed in their purpose and like they’re shaking off the rust they never quite let gather on them considering the touring they did to make up for lost time after Bergenheim joined. No doubt that helped them reestablish the dynamic that’s so prevalent instrumentally throughout the 10 tracks/43 minutes of Peace, which as ever is driven by Nilsson‘s gravely and sometimes bluesy vocals — especially well done on organ-laced closer “Low (I Wouldn’t Mind)” — and as the record begins with the full-on thrust of “It Ain’t Over Yet,” the message comes through clear and the band’s energy proves infectious. Part of a spectrum-spanning opening salvo with the more midpaced “Cold Love” and the subdued, Mörck-fronted “See the Day” behind it, “It Ain’t Over Yet” is just the first of several all-out rushes that one wouldn’t have expected from Graveyard three years ago.

The hooks and the songcraft are still there, and when “Please Don’t” kicks in after the quiet end of “See the Day,” it’s Bergenheim driving the movement that Nilsson tops with a bluesy ballad of coming to the city and trying to survive. In its swing and vibrancy, “Please Don’t” is essential Graveyard, and it builds toward an exciting finish with keys backing the guitars of Ramm and Nilsson as it races to its finish and the swirling, semi-garage start of “The Fox,” the shortest inclusion on Peace  at a brisk 2:45 and a carrying a sans-frills hook that likely finishes side A  and leads to the longer “Walk On” at the start of the tracklist’s second half, which is longer and shifts from one of the album’s most memorable choruses into a wide open section of echoes that set the bed for a build into the last run through the hook and a finish that finds the instruments cutting out as Nilsson recites, “It’s time to walk on” one more time, far, far off the mic.

graveyard

“Walk On” would stand as a video-worthy single, and but one might say the same of the quieter “Del Manic,” which follows. Catchy and memorable for its repetitions of the line “It’s just like staring at the sun” and its might-just-be-a-waltz rhythm, it shifts past its midpoint into a momentary swell of lower end tone, but recedes back to Nilsson‘s croon before trading back again before the next hook, “Don’t you need a little more to feel it?/Don’t you feel a little like you need it?/Don’t need a little more to feel it?/Don’t you feel a little like you need it?” sets up a swirl-backed solo and a final drop back to bluesy guitar that fades into the more uptempo start of “Bird of Paradise,” which brings Mörck back to the frontman position, his voice vaguely recalling Thin Lizzy if in rawer fashion. His presence alongside Nilsson on vocals is more than just a change-things-up tactic — he genuinely brings something different to the material he tops, and it gives Graveyard even more breadth to their sound.

That shows itself as “Bird of Paradise” gives way to the semi-title-track “A Sign of Peace,” which may or may not ultimately be based thematically on everything the band’s been through to get to this album release, but has a feeling of culmination to it anyway and moves fluidly through a kind of build before closer “Low (I Wouldn’t Mind)” takes hold quietly at first but ultimately with the unfurling of a blues-locomotive rhythm that turns near the midpoint to dual-guitar stomp backed by Bergenheim‘s kick. That quickly sets the foundation for an increasingly chaotic-sounding crescendo which recedes past the four-minute mark — the keys remaining prevalent alongside softly noodled and strummed guitar — and just when near-silence hits at about 4:50, they kick back in and give “Low (I Wouldn’t Mind)” a full revival for Peace‘s final apex, ending by cutting off cold and giving way to a kind of manipulated and echoing moan that also is shortly to disappear.

Peace will likely not be hailed as one of Graveyard‘s most innovative releases. The days of their landmark 2007 self-titled debut, 2011’s Hisingen Blues (review here) and 2012’s Lights Out (review here) are gone and despite having a signature sound, the band show little interest in repeating themselves from record to record, instead offering something different each time out within the sphere of their aesthetic and songwriting. But while it’s not revolutionary, the album should still be welcomed by fans, both for the fact that it marks Graveyard‘s return — something that, if only for months, didn’t seem like it was going to happen anytime soon — and for the reassurance it provides that despite the high highs and the low lows they’ve had since Innocence and Decadence, they remain strong, certain of who they are, and masters of the form of heavy boogie and blues rock. They’re as essential on Peace as they’ve been all along, and reestablishing that place seems to have been part of the idea anyhow.

Graveyard, “The Fox” official video

Graveyard, “Please Don’t” official video

Graveyard on Thee Facebooks

Graveyard on Twitter

Graveyard on Instagram

Graveyard at Nuclear Blast

Tags: , , , , ,

Graveyard Post “The Fox” Video; Euro & UK Tour Dates Confirmed

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 15th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

graveyard

The new Graveyard record has a couple barnburners on it, from the opener “It Ain’t Over Yet” to the penultimate semi-title-track “A Sign of Peace,” but as has been the case with their last several full-lengths, there’s more to the Swedish heavy rockers’ sound than just one approach. To wit, each half of the 10-song/43-minute LP gets a slower, moodier track, be it “See the Day” on side A or “Del Manic” on side B. Assuming the vinyl splits the tracklisting in half, that makes “The Fox” the finale on side A, and it draws a little bit from both sides. Where Graveyard‘s last video from Peace for “Please Don’t” (posted here), was a little more psychotic in its feel and a little more manic in the song itself, “The Fox” seems to be drawing from multiple sides.

I’m going to have an album review sometime in the coming weeks full of wax critique about what makes Graveyard such a special band and the serious risk they took in continuing on with new drummer Oskar Bergenheim after an initial hiatus, so I’ll save a lot of that kind of commentary for that, but for those looking forward to the arrival of Peace through Nuclear Blast on May 25, there’s much answered in this second video that the first one left to wonder about where the band was headed in terms of overall direction. The answer? They’re headed toward sounding like Graveyard Go figure.

Once again, the album is out May 25 on Nuclear Blast and Graveyard have newly confirmed tour dates in the UK and Europe for the Fall. All that whatnot follows via the PR wire. Dig it:

Graveyard, “The Fox” official video

Swedish classic rock connoisseurs GRAVEYARD are about to release their highly anticipated comeback album Peace, on May 25th through Nuclear Blast.

Today, the band releases another brand new song off their forthcoming record. Watch the music video for “The Fox” here.

Furthermore the band has announced the dates for their upcoming European and UK tours. See below.

Pre-order Peace in various formats, here: http://nblast.de/GraveyardPeace
Pre-order the album digitally to receive “Please Don’t” instantly!
Pre-save the album now via Spotify: http://nblast.de/GraveyardPeacePresave

Listen to “Please Don’t” in the NB Novelties Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/nuclearblastrecords/playlist/6aw9wiedFzzhJiI96DhNhw

The Nuclear Blast Mailorder Edition will feature the CD as well as a red 7″ vinyl single containing 2 exclusive and previously unreleased non-album tracks (‘Headache City’ & ‘Something Else’). Aside of that, the album will be available as digipak CD as well as on black, blue, yellow, beige, white and clear vinyl.

Peace – Track Listing:
01. It Ain’t Over Yet
02. Cold Love
03. See The Day
04. Please Don’t
05. Del Maniac
06. The Fox
07. Walk On
08. Bird Of Paradise
09. A Sign Of Peace
10. Low (I Wouldn’t Mind)

GRAVEYARD live:
08.06. S Sölvesborg – Sweden Rock
15./16.06. S Norrköping – Metallsvenskan
17.06. F Brétigny-Sur-Orge – Download Festival
21. – 23.06. DK Copenhagen – Copenhell
14.07. NL Weert – Bospop
21.07. S Stockholm – Ullevi (w/ GUNS N’ ROSES)
28.07. S Öland – Borgholm Brinner
08. – 11.08. D Eschwege – Open Flair Festival
08. – 11.08. CZ Jarom?? – Brutal Assault
15.08. D Dinkelsbühl – Summer Breeze

Peace over Europe 2018
+ BOMBUS
20 sept Columbia Club / Berlin (D)
22 sept Täubchenthal / Leipzig (D)
23 sept Futurum / Prague (CZ)
25 sept Arena Wien / Wien (AT)
26 sept A38 / Budapest (HUN)
28 sept Zona Roveri / Bologna (IT)
29 sept Bloom / Mezzago (IT)
2 oct Technikum / München (D)
3 oct Zoom / Frankfurt (D)
4 oct Garage Kleiner Klubb / Saarbrücken (D)
5 oct Im Wizemann / Stuttgart (D)
6 oct Den Atelier / Luxembourg (LU)
10 oct Ancienne Belgique / Brussels (BE)
11 oct De Oosterpoort / Groningen (NL)
12 oct Melkweg Max / Amsterdam (NL)
13 oct Luxor / Cologne (D)

PEACE over UK 2018
(support TBA)
30 nov Leadmill / Sheffield
1 dec The Key Club / Leeds
2 dec Rescue Rooms / Nottingham
3 dec G2 / Glasgow
5 dec Scala / London
6 dec Manchester Academy / Manchester
7 dec Birmingham 02 Academy 2 / Birmingham
8 Dec The Thekla / Bristol

Line-up:
Joakim Nilsson | vocals, guitars
Truls Mörck | bass
Oskar Bergenheim | drums
Jonatan Ramm | guitars

Graveyard on Thee Facebooks

Graveyard on Twitter

Graveyard on Instagram

Graveyard at Nuclear Blast

Tags: , , , , ,

Graveyard Post “Please Don’t” Video; Peace out May 25

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 12th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

graveyard

I’m not saying I don’t dig the new Graveyard track. I’m not. That’s not what I’m saying at all. What I am saying is that for all the hullabaloo surrounding the May 25 release of the Swedish classic heavy rock forerunners’ new album, Peace, listening to “Please Don’t” doesn’t tell us all that much that we didn’t already know. Graveyard can write a hook. Joakim Nilsson is an awesome frontman with an ever-expanding range of melody and expression in his voice. The band rocks. These are all things that Graveyard fans know well. It’s part of the reason there are so many of them around.

So don’t think I’m trying to talk smack on Graveyard as they come back from the hiatus after their graveyard peace2015 album, Innocence and Decadence (review here), that led to guitarist/vocalist Joakim Nilsson, guitarist Jonathan Ramm and bassist Truls Mörck parting ways with drummer Axel Sjöberg and bringing in Oskar Bergenheim to fill that role. Quite the opposite. Listen to that shuffle. Check out that boogie. That bluesy feel. It’s Graveyard alright. As many bands as have come along in the last decade trying to sound like that, nope. Graveyard still own it, vintage production or no.

But that brings us back to where we started. These are already established facts. Graveyard with a boogie track is awesome. It’s not, however, answering the question of whether Peace will follow in the melancholy soul footsteps of Innocence and Decadence, which had its boogie tracks too. It’s giving a solid first impression of Bergenheim on drums, to be sure, but it’s hardly answering the question of how the band’s personality will have invariably shifted with him behind the kit. It’s a full song, but it’s still also just a teaser for what’s invariably a more complete offering than one song could possibly convey.

So satisfying in some ways, leaving some questions in others. I guess that makes it an effective single…

Peace is out May 25 on Nuclear Blast. Album preorder link and more info follow here, courtesy of the PR wire.

Enjoy:

Graveyard, “Please Don’t” official video

Swedish classic rock connoisseurs GRAVEYARD have released the official music video for the first single, “Please Don’t,” off their eagerly anticipated upcoming comeback album, Peace.

Commented the band: ”As you may know, we’ve been doing some traveling lately. In many ways and on many levels. The good thing is that we brought back a few things for you all. Here’s a first souvenir from the road to PEACE.”

The album is now available for pre-order in various formats. The Nuclear Blast Mailorder edition will feature the CD as well as a red 7″ vinyl containing 2 exclusive and previously unreleased non-album tracks (“Headache City” & “Something Else”). Aside of that the album will be available as digipack CD as well as on black, yellow, mint, beige and clear vinyl.

Peace will be released on May 25, 2018 via Nuclear Blast.

Secure your copy via this link: http://nblast.de/GraveyardPeace

Graveyard – Peace – Track List:
01. It Ain’t Over Yet
02. Cold Love
03. See The Day
04. Please Don’t
05. Del Maniac
06. The Fox
07. Walk On
08. Bird Of Paradise
09. A Sign Of Peace
10. Low (I Wouldn’t Mind)

Line-Up:
Joakim Nilsson – vocals, guitar
Truls Mörck – bass
Oskar Bergenheim – drums
Jonatan Ramm – guitar

Graveyard on Thee Facebooks

Graveyard on Twitter

Graveyard on Instagram

Graveyard at Nuclear Blast

Tags: , , , , ,