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For some reason the distinct style of death metal (some call it cavernous death metal) combining the darkness and heaviness of Incantation with the ferocity of Blasphemy has become an immense hype in the extreme metal underground. Spearheaded by bands like Necros Christos and Teitanblood, the style has spawned plenty of followers of which Bölzer and the Londoners in Grave Miasma are perhaps the most prolific. It is difficult to put the finger on why this particular brand of extreme metal is so appealing, but the best guess would be a combination of dense atmosphere and taking the work of the ancient ones in a new direction rather than simply paying tribute.
Despite only releasing one full-length and two EPs so far, Grave Miasma are my personal favorites within this brand and their third EP 'Endless Pilgrimage' has been eagerly awaited. As with Grave Miasma's other efforts the artwork effectively sums up the atmosphere of the music, this time drawn by the Dan Seagrave of the 10's Costin Chioreanu. The bands previous albums have been clad in a dense dark choking atmosphere, whereas 'Endless Pilgrimage' tells a story about an inner journey through a barren world rid of all hope. The title sums it up perfectly, this is a 33 minute struggle of one's inner self, an endless pilgrimage in an unforgiving reality.
From a musical standpoint not much is different compared to the bands previous work. The thick riffing, uncompromising drumming and intense deep growls are once again clad in a dense production. The difference lies in subtle changes in the arrangements and songwriting effectively holding back some of the brutality and giving a more progressive and spacious feeling to the music. The result is an impressive shift in atmosphere and a band reinventing themselves while keeping the successful musical core intact.
The choice of artist for the albums artwork symbolizes that Grave Miasma now only holds one foot firmly rooted in the underground. The quality of the bands previous efforts combined with the versatility displayed on 'Endless Pilgrimage' are definite causes for wider recognition. Grave Miasma is a primal force of darkness and 'Endless Pilgrimage' will wreak havoc to everyone who dares lend it an ear.