DOOMBOX: GRAF ORLOCK’S SHORT, SWEET NEW EP
I dare you not to like Doombox, the new Graf Orlock EP. Seriously. I dare you. I will give you $40* if you can genuinely convince me it’s not great. And I will be a man $40 richer, because it’s ridiculous. It pulls out all the stops: viciously serrated metalcore brashness, epic samples, gritty production, and most of all, a pretty solid balance of fun and brutality, something a lot of (blank)core bands either over- or under-do. Doombox is brief but incredibly effective. So go ahead, try not to like it. This $40 could be yours.
Like most decent releases, Graf Orlock make it sound effortless, like they wrote the whole thing in the amount of time it takes to listen to Doombox (about 12 minutes). But a closer listen reveals that these guys know their shit: the samples that start each song color what comes after it, lending the band their trademark cinematic quality — they’re two minute epics that say a terrific amount despite the vocals being generally indecipherable. But pretentiousness doesn’t rule the day here: ass-kicking does. Premonitions of War-style grind riffs pummel before they drop a massive, swaggering rock n’ roll riff on you. The vocals run the gamut from gruff to obnoxious, but only stick around for as long as need be. Nothing overstays its welcome, but Doombox doesn’t feel understuffed, either. There’s a journey and definite arc, and before you know it, it’s over. You’re looking up and feeling bruised but exhilarated, wondering if you want more of if you need to step back for a few minutes and maybe listen to some Catherine Wheel to cleanse your palette.
Graf Orlock aren’t the first band to sound like this; in fact, I’d argue that, on paper, “(blank)core with grindy parts and samples” is right up there with At the Gates riffs and breakdowns in terms of shit that’s tired out. But not a lot of bands pull it off quite like this. The samples are a part of a greater collage instead of arbitrarily slapped on there for “badass” or “LOL” purposes. In fact, the mere acknowledgment of a greater collage instead of an excuse to punch your friends at a VFW puts Graf Orlock leaps and bounds ahead of their contemporaries. So go ahead, call the EP overrated. Listen to it once and turn your nose up. But if you can look me in the eye and tell me that Doombox, in just over ten minutes, doesn’t get under your skin and MEAN it, this $40 is yours. No joke: I feel that confident in it. Just when you think this sort of thing’s been played out, Graf Orlock come along and make you feel like an asshole.
(4 out of 5 horns)
*Offer not valid in all states, provinces, countries, and real life