It was a dark time many months ago when Graveyard called it quits. Mr. Finger-on-the-pulse as I am, I actually didn’t find out about their decision to split until 3 months after the announcement, by which time the band had re-grouped minus the drummer and were cracking on again like nothing had happened. Yep…such dark days I was totally oblivious to…and here we are in 2018 with what matters – the first offering by the re-born Graveyard (if you can have such a thing).
Now, I know many Graveyard fans agree (when pushed) that the band’s break-through release, the fabulous “Hisingen Blues”, was where Graveyad really captured the essence of their sound and although all the subsequent albums had much to savour and enjoy, “HB” always kind of had something…an energy, a vitality…a something. Well, “Peace” might just have re-discovered that something! This is a heavier, more urgent release right from the start, with the aptly titled ‘It Ain’t Over’ kicking things off with pounding rhythms and driving guitar lines. Joakim Nilsson’s voice re-evokes that raw edge he had on the earlier releases, which is great for the more up-beat tracks, but his smoother edge also lends itself perfectly when the urgency meets swagger on a track like 2nd up ‘Cold Love’. But why try and capture all moods when another band member with a more 60’s blues-style voice like Truls Morck can step up, as he does on third track ‘See The Day’ – a much more laid-back affair, that sets the scene nicely for the pounding, riff-driven ‘Please Don’t’, which could be slotted right in there at any point of “Hisingen Blues” – lead guitar, vocal delivery, arrangement, energy, even production – THIS is what I personally love about Graveyard, and didn’t actually realize was particularly missing until hearing it once more right now!
‘The Fox’ keeps the vibe going, with the band sounding like a tight, well-oiled unit, with more splashes of lead guitar and memorable vocal lines. ‘Walk On’ makes up for it’s predecessors 2:38 briefness by weighing in at over 5 minutes, hooking you in with tom-led drum rhythms, more great guitar and it’s eponymous vocal hook is a nice added touch. More fabulous lead-work embellishes the track, but new drummer Oskar Bergenheim once more covers himself in glory (as he does throughout the album), driving the song onwards, keeping the energy levels high and generally just being bloody great! Light and shade is also an important part of Graveyard’s sound and the next song ‘Del Maniac’ takes blues firmly by it’s gnarled, dusty hand once more, in that way that Graveyard uniquely interpret.
I feared a slightly uncomfortable cover of Snowy White’s ‘Bird Of Paradise’ was on it’s way next when I saw the track list, but thankfully it’s actually a Cream-esque, Neil Young-tinged, Ten Years After type song, the second on the album fronted once more ably by Morck. In a live situation this track will no doubt give Nilsson the chance to rest, re-gravel and expertly deliver the vocal lines to tracks like the following high-octane hard-rocker ‘A Sign Of Peace’, another excellent slab of classic Graveyard that once more captures both the power and groove the band effortlessly exude.
The album is rounded out by the longest track ‘Low (I Wouldn’t Mind)’, which sets up as a laid-back groover, but quickly takes on a more rapid feel, encapsulating a slightly more jammed vibe towards the end – another great example of the live-in-the-studio sound that producer Chips Kiesbye captures so well throughout “Peace”. What a joy this album is from start to finish! There were glimmers of this release on the band’s previous two releases but THIS is Graveyard for me. Everything I want to hear from this band is right here on “Peace”. A fantastic album that almost never happened – now that would have been an absolute travesty! Welcome back Graveyard! Although you’d only briefly been away…
(9/10 Andy Barker)