Monday, July 9, 2012

Graveland- Blood of Heroes (2002)

After releasing the gorgeous Memory and Destiny, Rob Darken quickly followed it up with the Blood of Heroes EP. The contents of the EP are in all likelihood tracks that didn’t make the cut for Memory and Destiny. The two songs are in a similar style, employing the same musical elements and creating a similar oceanic aura. However, there are a few factors that distinguish Blood of Heroes from Memory and Destiny. The arrangements on Blood of Heroes are thinned out. While there are big synths, they are nowhere near as layered as those found on Memory and Destiny. The result is a more open sound. While the synths starred on Memory and Destiny, here the guitars and synth are on about equal footing. The drumming is also more prominent, sounding far more sharp and crisp than on most Graveland recordings. 

“I am What They Fear” is definitely the stronger of the two songs. Rob employs his fusion of bold riffs and heavenly synths within a faster, more upbeat framework. The choir wails a glorious tune while the drums provide a galloping pace. The faster pace marries the violence and nobility of the warrior into one attacking yet elegant sound. The title track isn’t as interesting. It’s a fairly standard piece for this era, but it lacks a truly memorable riff. 

All in all one would have to conclude that Rob did a good job in choosing which songs to keep off of Memory and Destiny. While “I am What They Fear” is an excellent song, its fast pace and aggressive attitude would have been out of place amongst the mid-tempo, reflective pieces on Memory and Destiny. On the other hand, “Blood of Heroes” just doesn’t stand out. It’s a solid but not spectacular piece that lacks a truly stellar riff. In sum, Blood of Heroes is a nice a quick fix for those who can’t get enough of Graveland’s pagan metal era.

Overall: 8/10

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