6: Vinyl LP
As enduring and authentic as an old school leather jacket, GRAVEYARD have long since mastered the art of rock’n’roll. Formed in 2006 in Gothenburg, Sweden, their shared passion for hard rock, psychedelia and the eternal bedrock of blues marked them out from the start. Led by vocalist/guitarist Joakim Nilsson, they opened their account with their...
As enduring and authentic as an old school leather jacket, GRAVEYARD have long since mastered the art of rock’n’roll. Formed in 2006 in Gothenburg, Sweden, their shared passion for hard rock, psychedelia and the eternal bedrock of blues marked them out from the start. Led by vocalist/guitarist Joakim Nilsson, they opened their account with their now seminal self-titled Tee Pee Recordings debut in 2007, showcasing fiery chemistry and some wildly imaginative songwriting. Subsequently snapped up by the mighty Nuclear Blast Records, the band’s rise to prominence was swift and irresistible.
In 2008, guitarist Jonatan Ramm expanded the ranks, joining Nilsson, bassist Rikard Edlund and drummer Axel Sjöberg for the recording of second album Hisingen Blues. A critical smash that more than lived up to the hype, it established GRAVEYARD as rock’n’roll heavyweights. A thunderous, soul-stirring live band, with subtlety and swagger in equal amounts, they spent the next decade keeping fans of loose-limbed and earthy rock music in a near-constant state of rapture. From the rootsy clatter of 2012’s Lights Out to the magical, muscular grooves of 2018’s Peace (taking in the sepia-tinted folk doom of 2015’s Innocence & Decadence along the way), GRAVEYARD have made some of the most vital and vivid heavy rock of the 21st century. All eyes and ears are on their next move.
Fast forward to 2023. GRAVEYARD have completed their latest full-length recording and memories of gloomy lockdown are fast fading. This band has evolved yet again, both in terms of personnel and on a profound musical level. Simply titled 6, the band’s sixth studio record may be instantly recognisable as the work of Nilsson and his comrades, but this is a very different kind of GRAVEYARD album. The second record to feature a line-up of Nilsson, Ramm, bassist Truls Mörck and drummer Oskar Bergenheim, it is slower, more soulful, more introspective and a little darker than its predecessors. The new songs reflect the fragile aftermath of a ruinous global sickness, drawing more inspiration than ever from the blues in the process. But despite its melancholy overtones, 6 still sparks and flashes with many moments of riff-driven euphoria. Ultimately, GRAVEYARD are operating on instinct alone.
From the shimmering slow-flow of opener Godnatt onwards, 6 is easily identifiable as the most striking, original album of GRAVEYARD’s story so far. A gently lysergic blend of desolate guitars, simmering Hammond and lithe, nimble bass and drums, the Swedes demonstrate a lightness of touch that they have only hinted at in the past. Whether it’s the rootsy strut of Twice, the garage rock sturm ‘n’ twang of I Follow You, or Sad Song’s bleary, barroom blues, 6 is a restless but riveting affair. Meanwhile, while GRAVEYARD may have stepped outside of their comfort zone this time around, a renewed collaboration with a dear old friend has also had a huge impact on the new songs’ freshness and verve. Master of knobs and faders on the band’s early works, Swedish producer Don Ahlsterberg returned to capture 6 in all its gritty, groovy glory.
After dabbling momentarily with digital technology on their last album, Peace, GRAVEYARD have reverted to their original ethos on 6. Captured using analogue equipment only, the new songs have the kind of raw and sometimes primitive edge that simply can’t be faked. From the drifting swamp gospel of Breathe In, Breathe Out, to … 6 sounds as old as the hills, but as fresh as the daisies that grow on them.
While the music on 6 veers from languorous blues to kaleidoscopic psych, Jonatan Ramm’s lyrics paint a more monochrome, melancholy picture. Although shrouded in metaphor and poetic misdirection, songs like Sad Song and Bright Lights bring a more intimate and emotionally supercharged feel to GRAVEYARD’s sound, whether at full blast or smothered in restraint. These are elegant, organic anti-hymns; tinged with sadness and troubled by loss, but bathed in the sonorous, soothing tones of hope.
Armed with their darkest but most accessible album yet, GRAVEYARD have weathered a few years of isolation and frustration and come back braver, bolder and more bluesy than ever. Reinvigorated and surfing on waves of inspiration, they are ready to take their new songs out on the road, where the real magic happens and the rock really rolls. For fans of the truly authentic, 6 is mandatory, medicinal listening. Now watch this thing grow.
3.I Follow You
4.Breathe In Breathe Out
1.Just A Drop
3.No Way Out
- Vinyl LP
- Nuclear Blast