If a metal version of trivial pursuit is ever created, an excellent question would be: "what style of music was played on the first four Graveland demos?" Few, if any, would remember that the legendary black/ viking metal act started out as a shoddy industrial one man band. Yet, that is exactly what the first four Graveland demos are—shoddy industrial metal and weak ambient. The debut demo Necronomicon, is the poorest of the lot. The demo consists of two kinds of songs, ambient and industrial. The ambient pieces are really bad. It’s hard to believe that the same man would compose masterful ambient tracks such as the intro to Carpathian Wolves just three years later. Most of these ambient pieces are awkward four note melodies layered with clichéd sounds of flutes and choirs.
The industrial tracks are a little better, though still sub-par. The riffs are plodding and redundant. The drum machine is repetitive and cheap sounding. It relies almost exclusively on high-hat and cymbal noises, which can be grating. Rob employs a deep, gurgled growl that sounds like it is emerging from the depths of the ocean. It fits the music and is kind of cool, but ultimately doesn’t compensate for the albums other weaknesses.
The whole demo is pretty poor, but “Sword and Blood” shows a tiny bit of Graveland’s potential. The song has a bouncy, folk rhythm to it that foreshadows some of the later Graveland motifs. The percussion sounds are also slightly more dynamic. Overall, Graveland fans should give this a listen or two, if for no other reason than to see where the band's sound originated. However, don’t expect Necronomicon to stay in your permanent rotation.