Graveshadow – The Uncertain Hour



Graveshadow is a California-based symphonic metal band that incorporates elements of doom, thrash, and gothic metal. Formed in 2012, they celebrate their first decade of existence with a new album and even a little touring to get out from under the shackles of the pandemic restrictions. Their latest release, The Uncertain Hour, is their third full-length album. Come for the symphonic; stay for everything else. You will not be disappointed!

https://graveshadow.bandcamp.com/music/

Band Members:

  • Rachl “Raxx” Quinn – Vocals
  • Aaron Robitsch – Lead Guitars/Keyboards/Growls
  • William Lloyd Walker – Rhythm Guitars
  • Luci Rae – Bass
  • Bones – Drums

The Uncertain Hour was released via M-Theory Audio on July 15, 2022.

Tracklist:

  1. Soldier Of 34
  2. Gwynnbleidd
  3. Sea Of Apparitions
  4. The Swordsman (featuring Chelsea Murphy)
  5. Vengeance Of Envy
  6. Beautiful End
  7. The Betrayer
  8. Shadow Battles
  9. The Two Lived
  10. Damsel’s Finesse

The album opens with a gentle melody using harp, strings, and ambient rushing air noises before demolishing that calm with a massive riff. “Soldier Of 34” has a dual vocal assault using female cleans and male growls. The melodic section through the chorus is quite good, contrasting nicely with the heavier phrasing of the verses. Luci and Bones set an excellent pace for the guitar work to weave through. The variable vocals really fit the tone of the song.

“Gwynnbleidd” opens with a furious rhythm and interesting lead guitar work. Rachl is quickly in stride, going hard on the belting voice that she does so well. Aaron and William work together well, shifting from dual rhythmic patterns to harmonized leads at times, smoothly coordinating the transition to the solo. The drop at the bridge and the almost acapella vocal line are really nice, especially that warbled note taking the song back to the heaviness. That is a bold composition, and they handle it expertly.

The next track, “Sea Of Apparitions,” has a killer galloping rhythm. The lead guitar work is well-paced and beautifully fits the song’s tone. The piece is big with a lot of good, heavy music. “The Swordsman” leans more into the symphonic realm of Graveshadow’s repertoire for the intro. It is melodic and relaxing, at least until the main body of the song kicks in and the guitars go heavier. Back to more melodic, then diving into the heavy, this is a pretty complex arrangement. It’s bold and dramatic. Oh, and a really good listen.

“Vengeance Of Envy” is another heavy riffed, melodic, symphonic metal song. There is a short lead-in that builds fast to the main body of the song. For the first half of the first verse, the music drops out, leaving keys, drums, and vocals. These are good examples of how tight the band is and how skilled they are at putting together complex tunes with interesting twists and turns. The vocals are once again full of power as Rachl belts the lyrics. We’ll get to the lyrical themes in a bit.

“Beautiful End” makes excellent use of different channels to set this song up. The guitars come in on one side and set the stage for a massive symphonic intro to take place. This riff is really catchy. The keyboards do a great job of adding to the ambiance of the track. “The Betrayer” then takes a darker, heavier tack. The lyrics are darker thematically, so the music follows suit. Graveshadow really knows how to fit the tone to the theme. Everything sounds and feels like it belongs together.

“Shadow Battles” has a cool, almost subdued intro that leads to a massive, climbing note from Rachl. I love held tones that rise like that. It shows her control and skill all within a single breath. There is an excellent hook in this track, not that the others have been slacking; it’s just time to mention how good Graveshadow is at crafting massive, catchy riffs. “The Two Lived” goes the other direction, starting with delicate guitar tones and gentle keys before the rhythm kicks in. Lots of heaviness surrounding the growled vocals.

The album concludes with the seven-minute epic song, “Damsel’s Finesse.” Here, progressive metal elements are added to the symphonic/power metal track. The ebbs and flows of this piece are stunning, shifting from ethereal to bombastic and ranging everywhere in between. This kind of song carries across genres and generates fans from different metal genres and sub-cultures. It is a fantastic way to conclude an excellent record.

Rachl uses a lot of warble and vibrato in her vocals, adding spice to the delivery. She has a great range and does a lot of incredible jumps and drops with the voice. Lyrically, this record has a bit of fantasy and deeply personal themes. “Vengeance Of Envy” is an excellent example of this. Have you ever hated someone so much you became the exact thing you hate? I have. I really identified with this song viscerally. There is betrayal, envy, hate, and fear in these words, but they are delivered with tact and care and have a particular eloquence about them.

The lyrics are backed by thundering rhythms, powerful guitar work, and fantastic orchestration. Aaron and William are a dynamic pair of guitarists who mesh beautifully with their rhythmic cohorts on bass and drums. They are as solid as any musical group working the scene today. The compositions are intricate, complex, and very entertaining. It all fits together and is delivered with loving care.

MZ Ratings:

  • Musicianship
    • Guitars – 9
    • Rhythms – 9
    • Vocals – 9
  • Songwriting – 9/li>
  • Production – 9
  • Overall – 9