Sweden has a rich history of metal bands, to the point where it (along with its neighbor Finland) ranks as the world’s highest in terms of metal bands per capita, but I can’t think of any who had the very august and blue-blood Wall Street Journal act as a conduit for the world premiere of a song from their newest record, Lights Out. I haven’t kept up on the investment banker world, so maybe casual Friday attire has ditched the Dockers and Top-siders for a pair of engineer boots, a jean vest with old school NWOBHM patches sewn on it, and grimy hair tied back.
As metal bands go, Graveyard is definitely closer to the ‘yeah, my Dad can listen to this’ as opposed to the overtly crude and deliberate offensiveness of the latest grindcore band, and hopefully their ability to turn bluesy hard rock moves into melodic ear candy convinced a bonds trader or two to check out iTunes during lunch and download some songs. “Hard Time Lovin” and “Slow Motion Countdown” perfectly encapsulate one side of the band, the slow burn of a deliberate 4/4 beat that gradually builds to a dull heat, with singer Joakim Nilsson’s voice sounding like he’s perfected the fine balance of tobacco and 18 year-old Scotch intake. A strong whiff or two of early Jethro Tull can be discerned (cf. “20/20 Tunnel Vision”), but before you scoff at thoughts of a dude in white tights and a codpiece puffing into a flute, just remember that Tony Iommi was a member of Tull for a few months in the early days.
The other end of the Graveyard range fits in better with their look: hirsute, demin-clad, and wild-eyed. Fist pumpers like “The Suits, The Law, & The Uniforms” will make you want to grow a mustache, check out the classifieds for a used Triumph motorbike, and perfect your cigarette rolling skills. “Goliath” ups the ante and soon you’re on the hunt for cheap trucker speed and a tattooed female companion who’s got all the lyrics of Overkill memorized.
Other contemporary bands are pretending that there never was an oil crisis and are turning back the clock to return to the hard rock boogie of the 70s; Rise Above has generated a small fortune in releasing limited editions of bands like Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell and Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats, and Graveyard swims in similar waters. The difference here is that these Swedes can write a song with hooks that travel deep through your ears and stay in your cerebral cortex.