Grave Miasma are somewhat of a staple of the black and death metal scene within London. Chances are, if you’ve attended a gig within the last 36 months or so, you will have seen them at least once or twice. Despite their penchant for playing live, they are not very forthcoming with actual records; while ‘Exalted Emanation’ and ‘Realm of Evoked Doom’ were both in quick succession of each other (2009 and 2010 respectively), they were both EPs and it wasn’t until three years later, in 2013, that we finally saw the release of a full length, ‘Odori Sepulcrorum’. Fast forward to the current year and the British blackened death metal four piece have bestowed ‘Endless Pilgrimage’ upon us – another EP. This might seem terribly tight fisted of the band, but the duration actually works in their favour. The five tracks that make up this 33-minute release are all memorable and grab the listener’s attention, ensuring there’s never a moment when your mind is likely to wander.
‘Yama Transforms to Afterlife’ opens with some softly plucked sitar before launching straight into thick and furious riffs that are drenched in reverb, alongside bellowing growls and percussion that rumbles like a thunderstorm. While Grave Miasma are often branded ‘death metal’ (and they most certainly are), they are not to be confused with the clean production and squealing guitar slides of death metal currently being produced by the likes of the USA and Sweden. Their muddy sound and bleak, demonic atmospheres put them alongside bands such as Hooded Menace and Cruciamentum – definitely music for people who enjoy music that is textural and multi-faceted.
‘Glorification of the Impure’ is a reworking of a song back from when Grave Miasma were known as Goat Molestör. Originally recorded for 2003 demo ‘Ancient Barbaric Assault’, it was then reworked for their 2004 Split with The One, Niroth and Fluisterwoud and yet again on their 2005 split with Necros Christos. For ‘Endless Pilgrimage’ the song is now living through its fourth life cycle and has been edited down to just five and a half minutes and, while still full of blast beats, whammy bar slams and unrelenting pace, the latter half of this song has been slowed down allowing for the guitars to take centre stage in a setting which has previously let the double bass pedals rage. Honestly, this reworking is the best this track has sounded to date. Let’s hope that this EP is its final resting place.
Grave Miasma are completely dominating the black-death scene in the UK currently and, with EPs such as this one, it’s easy to see why.
(9/10 Angela Davey)