Despite following that classic rock tradition of taking a word and spelling it wrong on purpose, Gravil managed to surprise me straight off the bat with a brilliantly misleading opening. The first track on their album Thoughts of a Rising Sun is called Structurally Unsound and it begins with a jaunty, almost folky piece of guitar work and just as I thought I needed to grab my nearest tankard, pour a pint of ale and do a little jig, the song absolutely annihilates my ears with the biggest thrash metal riff I’ve heard in ages.
Structurally Unsound continues with frantic speed-metal shredding, some exemplary double bass work and that modern-metal staple of screamed verses and huge, memorable, sung choruses. Gravil have my attention and it’s brilliant to hear such expertly crafted thrash that would give bands like Evile and Sylosis a run for their money.
But then something bizarre happens; second track Enemy Within opens with a metalcore “eeeee-yup” and we enter a world of poor melodies and dull, one-chord riffs that are unashamedly synonymous of metalcore. What on Earth happened Gravil? Where’s the melody, the shred, the catchy choruses?
The rest of Gravil’s Thoughts of a Rising Sun continues in a much similar way. Thrash metal riffs are employed sparingly across the entire record, but generally the whole thing becomes a rather predictable yet serviceable metalcore record.
Thankfully Gravil are pretty enjoyable even when they’re making metalcore and their catchy choruses manage to stick around for most of the eleven songs on Thoughts of a Rising Sun, but we just can’t get over how utterly exciting the band sounded on the first track and how the record dramatically turned into pretty standard, modern-metal territory.
There’s talent in this band and they can definitely create more melodic and memorable tunes. We even get to witness some amazing leads on tracks like The Wanderer, so it’s a massive shame to hear the band waste so much of their album chugging on a single chord. Thoughts of a Rising Sun is an album that could have been so much more.
Gravil’s Thoughts of a Rising Sun is available to purchase direct from the band now.