Release Date: 25th May 2018
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Hard Rock, Stoner Rock
I’ll level with you; I’m not a Graveyard superfan. Sure, I’ve come across their stuff once or twice in the past, but it’s never truly grabbed me. I think the problem lies in the genre of “hard stoner rock” in itself, which can fall victim to a lot of samey tropes — fuzzy guitars, wailing vocals — the lark. This comes from someone who loves the genre; you put on a Truckfighters record, you got me groovin’. Still, these guys seem to know their stuff, this being their fifth record, fourth on Nuclear Blast. After a break-up scare last year, I was pretty pumped to get down with it, and that I did.
I was immediately drawn to the opening track, “It Ain’t Over Yet”, with its acid-drenched guitar solo and fill-heavy drums. I’m also a complete sucker for a badass lil’ hook, and hearing yer man Joakim scream “It ain’t over yetttt, you got a lot to looooseeee” immediately got me in that famous Scandinavian stoner mindset. However, while we’ve got moments like these in abundance, Graveyard don’t seemingly make too much of an effort to switch it up throughout the 40+ minute runtime.
Sure, I love effect-soaked guitar leads and desert melodies as much as I love RuPaul’s Drag Race (oh yeah, ya boi loves him some Drag Race), but with Graveyard, you feel like that’s all you’re getting and, while that’s a bucket of fun for 40 minutes, it doesn’t have too much staying power.
That being said, while staying power is what makes a legendary album legendary, it’s not necessary for a good time — this is what Graveyard provides on Peace. On second single, “The Fox”, we have one of the strongest melodies, especially vocally. I’m loving the driving force in the instrumental, and the fullness of the mix, which aids the group in creating a song that stands out in the track listing. This, as with much of Peace, establishes an aesthetic, but also giving us something a bit more hefty than your bog-standard desert rock album, of which there are many.
It’s clear from these tracks that this aesthetic is pumping out rough-and-ready, riff-driven rock songs. You’ve got clear influences from your classic Zeppelins and Sabbaths, but also a dash of the aforementioned Truckfighters and desert-rock innovators Kyuss in the mix too. The nagging issue I have with Peace, however, is how close the songs are to being more than just “another stoner rock song”. The melodies dance on the cusp of being really, really strong, and manage to be off-railed by a wrong direction, and then they become forgettable.
I could name plenty of songs — the closing track “Low (I Wouldn’t Mind)”, for example — on the album that do this. While it doesn’t make any of these songs bad, it means that, much like Triggerfinger‘s Colossus last year, I won’t be looking back at the end of 2018 thinking “Damn, what a great record”. It’s just… it’s just fine.
Overall, Graveyard offer us another round of fun, groovy stoner tunes. The fuzzed-up guitars and Joakim Nilsson’s vocals are textbook and sound just as heavy as ever. Songs like “It Ain’t Over Yet” and “The Fox” stand out, epitomising everything stoner rock should be. However, as is the case with so many bands in said genre, it gets stagnant over enough listens, with riffs I could hear anywhere on Nuclear Blast, which is frustrating considering how close it is to being more. It may not be one to savour, but Peace is a fun ride all the same.
Gooduns’: It Ain’t Over Yet, The Fox
For fans of: Truckfighters, Triggerfinger, The Vintage Caravan