Thursday, 29 May 2014

Extreme Thursday: Liquid Graveyard

It's been a strange old week here at Femetalism, with everyone going off in different directions and having holidays in disparate parts of the country. I for one spent a weekend in fog and pouring rain up a hill in Derbyshire drinking tea and listening to Agalloch. But now we're back, chilled out and relaxed, just in time for yet another bloody Thursday.

If there's one thing musicians in successful bands love to have, it's side projects. It gives them room to breathe, try new stuff, experiment and, hopefully, produce some kick-ass metal while they're doing it. This week we have the side project of Cancer front-man John Walker; a bit of avante-garde progressive death metal in the form of Liquid Graveyard.

Liquid Graveyard were formed way back in 2006 by John, his wife Raquel and Adrian de Buitléar of Mourning Beloveth. Mixing many different styles and influences, the result is a somewhat eclectic mix of every bit of metal pulled together by the precise playing and hugely diverse vocal range of Raquel. Whether growling deep and slow, taking it higher with a more ethereal sound, or messing with synths and electronics, Raquel's vocal abilities pull together the disparate riffs, beats and styles.

In a 2008 interview with Metal Temple, John explains that Liquid Graveyard is a blank canvas. A space for the musicians to experiment with "hybrid metal", pulling genres to pieces and splicing them back together in weird and unusual ways. The band doesn't have one particular genre but pulls the various member's experiences into new and interesting compositions.

After releasing Criministers, an initial demo, in 2006, the band started writing songs for a first full length release. The title track of the demo became a fully mastered track on the first album, On Evil Days.

While being considered mostly a form of progressive death metal, the songs from On Evil Days feature a distinct groove. It's certainly different, and showcases a range of Raquel's vocals including some particularly weird effects.

There's no mistaking the death metal roots, though, and both John's riffing and Raquel's growl make for a satisfying heavy progressive death metal experience. After a critical success of On Evil Days, Liquid Graveyard wasted no time creating songs for the next album.

After a couple of years perfecting the new material the new album, The Fifth Time I Died, was released. Sounding to my ear somewhat more jazzy than On Evil Days, the interplay of different styles continues in earnest. Ever fond of using clips from, I assume, TV and movies, various tracks have spoken word above hugely distorted vocals.

If there were one word to describe The Fifth Time I Died, it would have to be "odd". It's never quite clear what's going to come next. Strange, warbly vocals mix in with a black metal rasp, and interspersed with a more traditional hard rock vocal make for an impressive range for Raquel to sing almost simultaneously.

On other tracks the riffs are slowed down and the cleaner and higher pitch vocals are dispensed with. Slower, doomier riffs make for a subtly different experience, but the Liquid Graveyard sound is instantly recognisable.

News has recently been surfacing of a third album in the works. It seems that at some point in the past all members but John and Raquel Walker have left the band, and they have recently hired Napalm Death bassist Shane Embury and Twilight Of The Gods drummer Nicholas Barker. There are rumours that the album is expected this year some time. It will be interesting to see what metal hybrids form, and what new direction Raquel takes her vocal talents.


Originally posted by Craig Andrews on Femetalism.