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Graveyard Dirt | ‘Shadows Of Old Ghosts’

Some metal is timeless. It’s the kind of thing that walking around, concerned only with your earphones, makes you proud, and gives that feeling of shared understanding – as if the band saw everything about you, then put it into music. Doom Metal is particularly good at this. It would be a little much to say that ‘Shadows Of Old Ghosts’ is timeless. But it is achingly good.

When Doom sounds fantastic, it isn’t for heavy metal’s normal reasons. In other genres we think of effort; skill; innovation; instrumental talent. Not so with music like this. The best Doom bands are the channels, the mediums, for the themes- romance, foreboding, time, and of course impending peril. The usual standards like production and technical ability become meaningless. It’s quite simply down to how real you are, and how much you mean it as a band.

The point off all this is that Graveyeard Dirt’s take on small ‘g’ gothic, romantic doom metal is real. Everything they have set down on ‘Shadows Of Old Ghosts’ drips with dewy authenticity. From the sweet, melancholy delirium of the last riff in ‘Rise Fallen Skies’ to the proud, sad valedictory of ‘Tearless Lament’, they have somehow managed to distil all that is important about the genre into three songs of absolutely fucking monumental stature.

Mixing the pastoral expanse of ‘Silent Enigma’ Anathema with the basalt fortitude of eldest Solstice, this stuff is both heady and potent. While undeniably Irish in origin, the spirit of classic Anglo Saxon Doom runs through its every note. It is crammed with ideas, and crammed with atmosphere. Best of all its crammed with pure honesty of purpose and tone. Being melancholy without being mawkish is a hard thing to do, but Graveyard Dirt express themselves with both grace and power.

It’s hard to convey just exactly how good this cd is. Though technically still a demo recording, it roundly beats Mourning Beloveth’s last album, for example, in terms of pure musicality. It beats many more than that, too. As a plaintive collection of songs essential to any fan of either the genre or great, true metal, it’s just unequivocally essential.

This cd also gains Metalireland’s much coveted and rarely granted Earl Grey award; an award bestowed only unto the most heart scalded and fear panged music fit for the turning of the season and the falling of the leaves, when the hot fragrant beverage of choice comes out for winter walks in a pewter flask best designed to retain its restorative warmth while most evocative musics swirl through one’s new slimline iPod.

4.8 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 09/10/07

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