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Chicago sextet Earthen Grave delivers a world-class strain of heavy metal on their 10-track eponymous debut. Featuring former Trouble bassist Ron Holzner both on the four-string and behind the board, this unit adventurously tackles numerous genres of heaviness from classic NWOBHM to various hues of doom metal with brawny bravado bolstered by a driving twin guitar attack, a machine-like rhythm section, and a versatile vocalist that can go from Ozzy to Hetfield without hesitation. This Windy City act also commandeers a secret weapon in violinist Rachel Barton Pine, whose powerful presence and astonishing musicianship gives this squad a distinct sound as well as a unique progressive-minded edge that sets them apart from the bevy of bands who attempt to develop something as intriguing and fresh as this project. Featuring eight original songs and two mesmerizing covers of vintage metal cuts by Pentagram (“Relentless”) and Witchfinder General (“Burning a Sinner”), Earthen Grave showcases a winning formula of traditional metal elements with a fitting twist that accentuates the band’s unwavering dedication to making exceptional music. -MikeSOS
- Mike SOS