Review: Grave Decay - From Dust to Dust

Erik Morgan
Erik Morgan   Follow

Band: Grave Decay (opens new window)

Album: From Dust to Dust

Genre: Symphonic Death Metal

Release Date: October, 2018

Album Length: 52 Minutes

Record Label: Independent

Track list:

  1. Re-inception 01:40
  2. State Of Decay 05:35
  3. Cognitive Dissonance 05:06
  4. Bloodbound 03:55
  5. Grave Mystery 06:33
  6. Memories 05:48
  7. Boots On The Ground 04:14
  8. Silent Suffering (Carolina) 05:46
  9. Time 04:46
  10. Once Bitten, Twice Shy 08:31

Grave Decay is a Symphonic Death Metal band from the Netherlands currently consisting of Roger Koedoot and Maurice Lefeu. “From Dust to Dust” is the bands’ debut album and was released in October of 2018.

This album really stands out right from the onset, with pulse-pounding drums and symphonic elements that really got me excited to listen to “From Dust to Dust.”

Sound and Mixing: Throughout this album, the mixing is extremely crisp. Guitars shine through, and these are definitely the stars of the show next to the lyricism. Shredding solos, chunky bridges, and even moments of beautiful strumming are definitely the highlights of this album. The drums are fast and heavy and keep the songs chugging along at a steady pace, which results in music that will take any listener to a completely different place. The deep gutturals that sound fantastic, also shine through when teamed up with everything else.

Lyrics: One aspect of Grave Decays’ “From Dust to Dust” that really makes the album great is the fact that every song has a different message. Ranging from words of warning and calls to come to Christ, there are also themes of pacificism with the anti-war anthem (and my personal favorite off the album) “Boots on The Ground.” The song “Grave Mystery” even deals with the existential question of “is there a creator of the Earth or is this all just one big accident caused by nature?” with the former being what the song alludes to. This song is beautifully written, acknowledging all of the aspects of Earth and the many creations in it and that surround it. From the animals, trees, and humans that inhabit the Earth, to the Sun, Moon, and stars that surround us in the universe. The song “Silent Suffering (Carolina)” deals with the loss of a loved one, and it was specifically written for one of the members’ mothers who had passed away in 2018. Anyone that has experienced the deep sense of sorrow that comes with the passing of a loved one can relate to the words and theme of this track. This only scratches the surface of what Grave Decay cover on “From Dust to Dust.”

Favorites: Personally, “Boots on The Ground” is my number one from this album. It tackles the hard truths about war. From being in battle and taking someone else’s life to preserve your own or even the men and women that are controlling the drones that bomb places, before going home to their families. This song by no means takes any sides when it comes to the topic of war, with the song ending with a call to come to God. Number two for me has to be “Grave Mystery.” This song is beautiful and so full of imagery. I would even go as far as to say that it is a happy song. Taking in the creation that is Earth and just being appreciative of this great gift that we have been given really sheds new light on this album and should be explored more in the heavy metal scene as a whole. “Time” is a clever track. The band said that this song deals with the passing of time and how we spend it, even going as far as to talk about it literally. They played with the idea of 60 seconds and 60 minutes as well, even going as far as to make the song have a tempo of 60 beats per minute. There will be a link at the end of this review with the bands website so that people can take a deeper dive into the meanings and lyrics of each of these songs. Now for my least favorite on the album. “Silent Suffering (Carolina)” is definitely one of the most heartfelt songs on the album. As someone who has lost people that were close to me in the past, I identified with the emotions behind this song. But we are also reminded that there are hope and beauty in loss with the lyric “we will meet again.”

Closing Thoughts and Rating: “From Dust to Dust” excels in multiple areas, but a massive area is in the messages that it aims to bring to the listeners. From hope and love to calls to end the war and stop the hypocrisy, each song on this album is phenomenal.

Rating: 9/10

Reason: Each song is well-written and well-worded. The emotions and messages are conveyed in non-pretentious ways and it is clear that Grave Decay just loves to write heavy music.

BTG Staff's Second Opinion

Grave Decay is a Christian Symphonic Death Metal band that also incorporates Progressive and Melodic influences into their sound.

Grave Decay is a really interesting and good sounding project, when you listen to them, you can listen to the amount of talent and composition work behind every riff, and every sound in their songs. These guys are completely serious and sound really brutal, they perfectly know what they´re doing and I think they have a solid unique sound.

When I saw this was a Symphonic Death Metal band, I was expecting it to lean more to Gothic Metal or Death/Doom as well. However, it was a great surprise for me that these guys were actually more Old-School Death Metal inspired which is absolutely great. This album in general is like the marriage between the classic and brutal elements of the Old School and the new sounds we have in the Modern Death Metal scene. Of course, the symphonic instruments add many textures and totally enrich their sound, creating a dark atmosphere and propitiating a great balance between melody and brutality. Personally, this record brought me back to Mortifications’s Scrolls of The Megilloth, and similar to other great bands of that age, like Crimson Thorn or Extol. But this band also deserves a place between Scandinavian giants like Pantokrator (because of their progressive elements), Deuteronomium, and Renascent, being the last band that is more similar to Grave Decay’s sound. After all, Grave Decay presents a rich sound that is enjoyable and contributes musically to the scene.

The album starts with Re-Inception an instrumental intro that creates a dramatic epic atmosphere, with lots of production work and great samples, it puts you in the mood like a big battle is about to start. This could easily be the soundtrack to a movie, but no, this is what marks the start of this great record. State of Decay comes in with a good mid-tempo drumbeat and great violins chords that keep the atmosphere tense, followed by good riffs and awesome melodies, with a great guitar and bass work. Also, perfectly executed Old School vocals that Steve Rowe would be proud of, but even though they´re similar, these vocals have other kinds of textures, go lower which contributes to the dark atmosphere. Cognitive Dissonance might be one of my favorite tracks, progressive, and unique, this is a song which atmosphere is just powerful and the guitar solos are ridiculously good and technical. Not anyone could compose a song like this; this is heavily thought Death Metal. Both songs have well-written lyrics that match greatly the melody and talk about human nature itself, with concepts that would probably also reach secular audiences.

Bloodbound is also a good song, with buzzing riffs that are easily headbangable, the songwriting of this album in general is genuinely creative. Grave Mystery is a genuine masterpiece, maybe with sort of a Death N’ Roll vibe that was sensational, really epic sounding, and full of Progressive Death Metal elements that gave another level of depth to the instrumentation. These two songs have really beautiful lyrics, talking about the greatness of God’s creation and the gift of his blood, different lyrics that show these musicians think out of the box. Memories has one of the best grooves of this year, and I have to recognize how good the orchestration was at this song, sincerely captivating. Once again the guitar solos are masterpieces, this album as a whole might work as an ode to epic solos in Death Metal. This song had more of the Death/Doom Metal influences I expected at the beginning and it totally worked with the Atmospheric interlude that just added more musical context. The end of this song is powerful and it is a perfect entrance to one of the most intense songs in the album, Boots on the Ground. This song had more Speed Metal on it and really cool ideas and innovations, reminded me of Extol, because of its experimentation. It leaned a lot to a powerful Death/Thrash sound.

Silent Suffering (Carolina) is also one of my favorite tracks, the orchestration is gloomy and very dark, and the riffs add so much tastefulness to the ambient. The vocals of this song were the best of the whole album, awesomely performed. With lyrics that seem to be written because of the loss of a loved one, which is pretty beautiful and admirable. I´m pretty sure this song represents the love and gratitude of the lyricist to this person, RIP, we thank God for the gift of salvation, the eternal rest he gives and we praise the Lord for the life of this warrior.

Time balanced the atmosphere; it is a slower song, so it came perfectly to calm the atmosphere. These skilled musicians knew how to structure an album, making it dynamic and full of a new thing on every song that keeps you expectative. The use of samples is amazing, and the production of the sound atmosphere is amazing, it´s as if it came from a movie, which shouldn't be a surprise considering this band has members that have been in atmosphere-master bands like Morphia and Sletchvalk. This talented use of atmosphere is especially shown at the last track Once Bitten, Twice Shy which is an amazing track to end the record, because it mixes all the great elements from every track of the album, giving the album the epic closure it deserved.

Lyrics in general were good advice, praise, and admiration to God, which makes me happy because who would think that an album that sounds so dark, would have such evident positive messages in it? That is what I love about Christian Metal, and bands like this, that write with their hearts and think on sharing the Light of the Lord and optimistic points of view of life. I loved the lyrics of this album.

As a synthesis, this is an album full of surprises and great ideas, going to many different Death Metal territories and sub-genres. This album is more than music for the sake of doing music; this is a beautiful masterpiece full of musical and lyrical discernment, and if I start thinking about the amount of effort, talent, and time that the composition and execution of this album must have required, I would probably get a headache. Really enjoyable Death Metal, it´s like a window to the Old School with ideas that make modern Metal more interesting and with a brighter future. I couldn’t criticize anything from this album, I'll be expectative to what this band is going to do next because I NEED to see what could be their next step.

Rating: 9.9/10

Favorite Tracks: Cognitive Dissonance, Grave Mystery, Silent Suffering and Boots on the Ground.

​ Written By: Gabriel of Gorship777 (opens new window)

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