Just when you think that 2012 has thrown up enough quality doom from the likes of Candlemass, Seremonia, Grand Magus, Chowder and Pilgrim to name but a few, along comes another band with some fuzzed-out, stoner grooves and a love for the darker side of life. The Graviators hail from Sweden – where else? – and somehow seem to have pulled off sounding both very familiar and totally individual at the same time.
Notice the use of the word individual rather than original, because originality is not a quality that looms large in the world of doom. Musically The Graviators play 70s-inspired occult rock that naturally brings to mind that certain four-piece from Birmingham and, without being derogatory, doesn’t really differ enough stylistically from the legions of other Sabbath worshippers out there. However, the band have a few tricks up their sleeve, namely in the wonderfully clear production that brings every instrument to the fore, yet manages to retain that raw feel that all of those proto-metal bands from the 70s had.
Another of their assets is vocalist Niklas Sjöberg, whose vocals sit somewhere in between the shrill croon of The Cult’s Ian Astbury and The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins. Admittedly it does take a couple of listens for his slightly bizarre tone and phrasing to sink in but once it does it almost becomes an instrument in itself, and the almost folky vocal melodies in songs like the Deep Purple-esque ‘Presence’ sound all the better for his biting wail.
Overall, Evil Deeds is something of a musical treat. As well as the production and the vocals, the lead guitar work of Martin Fairbanks is also exemplary; the deathly stomp of closing track ‘The Infidel’ is made all the more dynamic thanks to some pretty dazzling fretboard action that lifts the song from the murky depths of doom into more hard rock territory. This is only the band’s second album and already they seem to have found their groove – let’s hope there’s a lot more to come.