Gravil – Thoughts Of A Rising Sun

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Gravil are a London based 5 piece with influences from all corners of the metal spectrum. Formed in 2005, Gravil have been featured in respected metal publications Terrorizer, Kerrang, and Rock Sound magazines and had airtime on Scuzz TV and Bruce Dickinson’s Radio 6 Rock Show. In late 2012 they embarked on recording their much anticipated debut album, and, without wanting to give too much away too early, it’s definitely been worth the wait! Drawing influence from thrash, technical death and even some hints of black metal, it’s really hard to find a box that Thoughts Of A Rising Sun doesn’t tick for any lover of fast, heavy music. The precision with which these guys tear through each song is awe inspiring. A relentless twin guitar attack packed with enormous riffs, blazing rhythms and masterful lead sections is at the forefront of Gravil’s attack. Coupled with the driving force of drummer Conor Harkness who’s precision and explosiveness is a fitting match for his axe wielding compatriots, all this album needs is that cherry on top of a fantastic musical cake. Vocalist Grant Stacey provides that cherry. This guy possesses a bone chilling roar with a special kind of fury behind it. Not only that, but he can sing a bit as well. From time to time Grant will go into a clean voice creating a contrast that really shouldn’t work with the explosiveness beneath his vocals, but somehow does, and brilliantly at that.

In late 2012, Gravil took to Escape Route Studios in London to work with producer Dan Abela who has previously undertaken projects with the likes of Gallows, Bleed From Within and Silent Descent. The sound on Thoughts Of A Rising Sun  is a great tribute to Mr Abela’s work. The rhythm section is absolutely colossal, and the band’s technical prowess is captured beat for beat and note for note throughout. The occasional use of adventurous synth overlays and frankly odd sounding effects is made to work sensationally well with the behemoth guitar tones, cannoning drums, and monstrous vocals. The difference maker with this band is the structuring of songs. They have created a special album that you can listen to from start to finish without even considering pressing skip. These guys’ proficiency on their instruments is obvious, but their ability to create a gripping piece of metal music is truly remarkable. Contrasts and sudden changes that really shouldn’t work with their dynamic enhance the songs tenfold, and they never lose any of the relentlessness or power despite being fairly experimental in places.

The first track on the album is Structurally Unsound, and frankly these guys have an agenda to make the listener crap themselves as a fairly tame clean guitar intro suddenly explodes into a violent mass of double kicks and searing rhythm guitars. They do however revisit melody quite a bit in this song, with an anthemic chorus featuring a subtle yet effective vocal harmony, and a clean guitar breakdown and delicious solo. The next track Enemy Within is perhaps the best example of the band experimenting with sounds that sound odd but somehow work. The track begins with an odd synth riff that brought to mind a leprechaun playing a flute whilst dancing around his pot of gold! The jovial nature of the track doesn’t last as a pig squeal style vocal brings the carnage into play, and the guitar cleverly picks up the original synth motif. The Wanderer is a great example of Gravil’s ability to create contrasts that you wouldn’t really expect. Beautiful, melodic guitar solos over the top of massive blasting kick drums and discordant, evil vocals, and clean harmony vocals over the top of those same evil, demonic inspired roars. It really is astonishing how these guys are able to pull it off.

The pace slows to a fist pumping kind of vibe with title track Thoughts Of A Rising Sun as the guitars adopt a more catchy riff based approach combined with some epic leads. Through The Eyes Of Spartans restores some pace to proceedings with a cannoning drum beat and some guitar wizardry in the midsection that you simply can’t afford to miss! Just when you think you know what to expect, Gravil through you another curveball with Bottle Of Shaddows. A wonderful mix of ambient, clean guitars that give you a hint that something big is coming, and then the something big being way bigger than you could possible imagine. The use of lead guitars, synth and massive riffs create an incredible texture and explosion of energy. This epic piece of metal mastery concludes with brutal and relentless bonus track March Of The Titans which features James McIlroy from Cradle Of Filth. The synth in this track works especially well with the frantic fretwork from guitarists Andy and Tony as well as the terrifying vocals that noticeably kick up a notch for this track.

Usually I close by recommending bands to fans of certain genres that I feel best suit their sound. In this case I’m going to simply say to everyone who likes heavy music should check these guys out, because they really are the sort of band who will get you into a type of music you may have previously thought wasn’t for you. I honestly believe there is something to like here whatever your taste in metal is. Even those of you who aren’t a fan of harsh vocals will no doubt have a blast listening to what Grant Stacey can do with his voice on clean. You can blow off steam to these songs, admire the technical precision on display, bask in the beauty of certain melodic parts and most importantly, not get bored for the whole duration of the album. Gravil’s debut album Thoughts Of A Rising Sun is available to order from their website. Be sure to believe the hype and go and pick this thing up!

Gravil is:

Grant Stacey – Vocals
Andy Slade – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Tony Dando – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Sparx – Bass & Backing Vocals
Conor Harkness – Drums