When Swedish trio Graveyard After Graveyard had leftover material after releasing their LP Bagged and Dragged to a Fullmoon Burial they decided to release these songs as an EP, Hellhound On My Trail, six months later.
While not a true supergroup (this almost feels more like a side project for the three members), Graveyard Ater Graveyard combines the talents of Rogga Johansson (Paganizer) on vocals, guitar, and bass; Jocke Ringdahl (Sinners Burn, ex-Paganizer) on drums; and Mika Lagrén (Grave) also on guitar. Although coming from strong death metal backgrounds, the threesome play a form of blackened thrash with some death metal overtones.
Graveyard After Graveyard haven’t recruited a full-time bassist, so Johansson does his best to fill that role, although you can tell he put most of his effort into the vocal component. As such, the bass on Hellhound On My Trail is unremarkable at best (although still more present than …And Justice For All).
Moving on, the EP opens with Out To Feed, a blasting number with a solid thrash backbone and Johansson’s vocals kick in, which if you haven’t heard them before, sound halfway between a standard growl and gargling battery acid. The song stays fairly mid-tempo on the verse, but blasts into overdrive on the chorus. Giant Of The Undead follows a similar pattern, only with more wailing guitar around mid-song.
Graveyard After Graveyard change the formula up a bit on the third track, Infernal Catacombs. Johansson varies the vocal delivery on this song several times in its three and a half minutes, starting out with more of a black metal delivery to some higher-pitched King Diamond-esque howling towards the end of the song. I’m not sure it’s successful, but I’ll give him points for trying.
Screams in the Night and Learn to Burn lean more towards the death metal end of the spectrum, but again, they are stylistically similar to the first three tracks. There isn’t a lot of high-concept experimentation here, but it’s blackened thrash. What were you really expecting?
The last track, Feeding of the Hellhounds is just a minute and a half of strange electronic dissonance, which kind of sucks the energy out of the album as a closer. It might have been more effective as an intro, but you can always skip it if it bothers you that much.
Minor quibbles aside, Graveyard After Graveyard Hellhound On My Trail is a solid enough entry in the blackened death/thrash subgenre. Most folks are going to find a lot to like here, and if these are the tracks that didn’t make the cut, I’ll have to check out Bagged and Dragged to a Fullmoon Burial in the very near future.
Special thanks to Transcending Obscurity PR for the complementary review copy.