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Graveyard’s Peace Pulls Its Punches, but Punches None the Less

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The problem with a lot of contemporary stoner rock and doom is that it meanders. The albums have a couple of kickass songs at best, but are a little underwhelming overall. While bands like Clutch deliver one ass-shaker after another, many of their peers can only claim one or two truly rad songs per record.

Such is the case with Peace, the new album by Swedish stoner rockers Graveyard. Overall, Peace ain’t a bad album, and it has a couple of songs that’ll get your motor running. But those standout tracks are divided up by semi-decent ones that diminish the record’s power just enough to make it good, not great.

So which do you want first, the good news or the bad news? Let’s start good: Peace comes out of the gate strong, immediately invoking everything that one loves about bands like Monster Truck and Black Label Society. Opener “It Ain’t Over Yet” is a rollicking barn burner loaded with shrieks, hollers, and driving riffs. Following hot on its heels are “Cold Love,” a witchy track about the strange headspace of a touring band. “Please Don’t” has a great stomp to it, and opens with the classic line, “First time I came to the city…” Other highlights include “Walk On,” which ups the ante on Graveyard’s jangling guitar sound, and “A Sign of Peace,” which has a great driving riff at its core.

The bad news, obviously, is that the tracks between the ones I just mentioned aren’t that memorable (and some of the ones above, like “A Sign of Peace”, are only memorable by comparison). Songs like “The Fox” and “Bird of Paradise” aren’t bad, they’re just kind of typical southern hard rock tracks, while ballad “Del Manic” just makes you want to listen to bands better-suited to this kind of melancholy slog, like The White Buffalo or The Handsome Family. These songs cause the album to blur in the middle, making the opening track the only one that sticks in the listener’s mind reliably.

Thing is, if you’re more of a rocker than a metalhead, those tracks might not bother you so much. They’re pretty forgivable over all; there’s no song that makes you wonder what the flying fuck Gravyard are doing. But for those of you seeking that consistent shake, rattle, and roll that makes good ol’ boys out of heshers, Peace might be a digestive apertif that won’t fully cure your thirst for white lightning.

Graveyard’s Peace comes out Friday, May 25 via Nuclear Blast. You can check out the song “Please Don’t” here and pre-order the album here.

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