By Kyle Harcott
Inexorably lean and mean, equal parts hardcore, crust, grind and just the right amount of death metal, Goner comes leaping out of the speakers with the gutpunch attack of its title track, gets you down on the ground with a boot or two, and never lets up from there. No, SF’s Early Graves are not here to win you over with anything other than sheer, pissed-off force of will – and by rights, they’ll succeed in getting your attention or bychrist, they’ll make you die trying. No kidding – this record is a rusty pipewrench to the teeth.
I hear a lot of grime in the guitars, presumably in homage to that latter-day Entombed sound, something that’s always going to grab my attention. The album’s definitely complemented by the rich, full-analog production by Tim “The Fucking Champs” Green – the guitars are right up front, full-throttle up in your face; there’s really no escaping the all-out assault of this disc. Makh Daniels’ voice is impressive here too, a hoary bellow crusted in grit and constantly tearing your head off.
For the most part, the songs come at you fast and downright furious, but the band slows things down on “Wraiths”, and it’s an absolute crusher of a standout, calling to mind the heavier moments of Integrity, and leaving me thinking I really have to catch Early Graves when they swing by my neck of the woods this summer. And lest I forget, the lysergic-nightmare Nat Damm artwork on the album cover is also topnotch, something that often gets overlooked in this shuffle-and-skip day and age of mp3s.
If you like it mean, fast, crusty and hammering, check out Goner, it’s a housewrecker of a disc.