Graves At Sea: The Curse That Is
Long-awaited sludge debut gives way to a sinking feeling
Longstanding fans of Portland’s Graves At Sea have been waiting almost 15 years for a full-length album, so expectations are certainly high.
Unfortunately, the four-piece’s debut isn’t the sludge/doom monument anticipated. The main issue is that by straddling the thin divide between time-honoured doom and the nihilistic squall of sludge, they rarely capture the emotional crush of the former or the visceral impact of the latter. An excessive 70-plus minute run-time also highlights the band’s tendency to ramble aimlessly during longer songs save for The Ashes Made Her Beautiful, which is absorbing, shrewdly constructed, and integrates welcome yet slightly under-developed passages of acoustic guitar and violin.