Album Review: Gravemind - Conduit
Review by: Simon Strelein
Rarely in today's often repetitious and archetypal slew of releases does anything truly shine. Through the bleak storm of irrelevance, 'Conduit' breaks the skies as an emotionally charged and impactful bolt of lightning. Gravemind's latest release exists within our darkest thoughts with a clarified perspective and interpretation that is seldom showcased within its genre. The lurching tempo of the album's intro track 'The Effigy' begins the brutal onslaught of an album that almost never relents. Tonally, the music is colossal. The first handful of tracks proceed to assault the listener like a sack of broken bricks to the head. Erratic rhythms knock us headfirst into a violent undercurrent of ever-shifting abuse, dragging us down a whitewater rapid of thunderous drumbeats and rib-cage stomping riffs. There is no respite until latter half of the third track 'Volgin' when we surface in a vast cavern of echoing nothingness, drifting into the spacial horror of 'Vox Populi'. 'Hard Rain' allows a moment to let the listener catch their breath and reflect before pushing them under again. An anthemic refrain, an underwater sense of drowning, there is an amazing amount of emotion transmitted through the sound. The lyrics “The rope has frayed / We can’t both be saved” narrates the feeling almost perfectly as we slip beneath the surface once more and accept our watery fate. 'Phantom Pain', a commentary on the terrors of emotional abuse and violence within the home could have easily come across as a bid for attention, had it not been delivered with such solemn severity. Far from a tasteless grab at sensationalism its unsettling tone and nature come across as a well-thought-out social commentary. The spoken word midway delivers a sobering perspective, plainly spoken and honest in delivery, giving voice to those who live though these situations. Halfway through listening to this album, I realised I had come unprepared for this journey. 'Reading;Steiner' astrally projects us from the ruins of our domiciles once more in preparation for a return to the earlier pace of battery experienced in earlier tracks. 'Zero-Point Energy' and 'Hollow' use us as punching bags once more during their ridiculous breakdowns. A two-part outro begins with the track 'Embrace' and its gloomy, stomping drum and bass outset, and then sudden pursuit to the final gate as though the wolves were snapping at our heels. The true farewell of 'The Entropy' takes form in the ethereal clean vocals, almost calling you to accept your final demise and that “All things have to end”. 'Conduit' as an album flows as a whole entity, songs merge together uninterrupted and push the listener to the bitter end. No single song stands out as a weak point, yet separately they hold their own. Compared to their 2017 EP 'Deathgate', Gravemind have evolved drastically. The quality of both the recording and the music have improved immensely, while still retaining a sense of self. 'Conduit' still adheres to the strictures and tropes of Deathcore. But once the surface is scratched, the listener is exposed to a vast landscape of sound rarely mapped by so many other bands in this genre. Rather than pandering to the crowd-killing society with empty platitudes, Gravemind create a destructive environment in which those caught within must fight against waves of blood lest they be smashed at the foot of the monolith. In a scene that seems content to stagnate in its on filth, 'Conduit' rises like a beacon. 4.5 out of 5.
Conduit is out Friday, July 19th on Greyscale Records. Order your copy HERE. For fans of Enterprise Earth, Angelmaker, I Valiance, Obscure of Acacia, Meshuggah