UK Death Metallers, Grave Miasma have gained a very good reputation in the Death Metal underground over the years with their dense, atmospheric style of compositions, which is quite clearly influenced by New York Death Metal bands such as Incantation and Morpheus Descends. Yet, they manage to stand apart rather than being an obvious, uninspired clone. Formed in 2002 as Goat Molestor, they have kept their sound and style completely intact, but with the progression of time, their songwriting has definitely matured.
Their debut album, Odori Sepulcrorum, is the result of all the experience and skill they have gained over the years with their two EPs and constant touring with other bands of a high caliber. The composition style is signature Grave Miasma with non-muted tremolo riffs and heavy, doomy passages. This time, however, it is done with a much more logical progression and arranged into interesting song structures, contrary to a lot of their older compositions, which consisted of few riffs played over the entire song length and lacked some of the dynamics that this album has. Although their older formula worked wonders due to their immensely powerful atmosphere, the compositions here are far more gripping, making it a compelling listen throughout its playing time. All instruments are drenched in an ideal amount of reverb, bestowing a cryptic atmosphere upon them. Although other bands in the vein of Grave Miasma also focus in creating a dark and menacing atmosphere, they don’t quite do it the same way. Their focus is merely on obtaining the sound on an amplifier and putting it through the right effects in the studio. On the other hand, Grave Miasma realizes the importance of composition and execution to evoke a feeling of evil, keeping the effects a strictly secondary (yet important) part of the equation. I doubt that any random combination of notes, combined with the right effects creates the same feeling as carefully crafted songs.
Songwriting and music aside, the band also realizes the importance of aesthetics in Death Metal. The artwork and lyrics are in perfect resonance with each other and with the music. The lyrics deal with various occult practices and spiritual awakening. Reading the lyrics sheet while listening to the music adds to the overall atmosphere of the album – another indicator of how well-done this album is. Odori Sepulcrorum is my favourite Death Metal album of 2013, only second to Colored Sands (Gorguts). Now, to wait for the new Dead Congregation (whenever it comes out).
– Rohit Chaoji