Graveyard - Innocence & Decadence (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Innocence & Decadence (2015)

Nuclear Blast

Generally, I find I enjoy European bands. They often play unpretentious, straight-up rock and roll without having to conform to any particular sub-genre. Graveyard, from Sweden, plays vintage rock that sounds like it could have been recorded in 1972. I'm sure their guitars, amps, etc. were all from that era (or faithful reproductions). Unfortunately, their influences seem to be rooted in the bloated, artsy-fartsy prog-rock of the time. The cover art of Innocence & Decadence was the first sign of trouble. It's a picture (probably a painting) of a labyrinth-like series of paths. It's the type of thing someone on LSD would find endlessly fascinating.

Musically, opening track "Magnetic Shunk" shows some promise when it reminds you of MC5. Second song "The Apple and the Tree" is essentially the title track (but calling it that wouldn't be pretentious enough). The third song, "Exit 97," is the first and best of the album's four ballads. "Never Theirs to Sell" and "Hard-Headed" are the record's best songs, as they once again have kind of an MC5 vibe. Things nearly grind to a halt as the 11-track album closes with back to back slow songs. A lot of great records end with a mellow tune, but two in a row really doesn't work.

At their best, Graveyard might remind you of MC5, Cream or The Animals. Too often on Innocence & Decadence they sound more like the less notable '70s rock of Nazareth, Uriah Heep or April Wine. At their worst, they mimic Yes, Kansas or The Allman Brothers. Graveyard is not a terrible band. As a matter of fact, this record is pretty well done. They paid close attention to even the smallest details (there's plenty of cowbell). The problem is that they seem content to ape the music of their influences without adding much of anything new. Since classic rock radio hasn't added any new songs to their playlists since I was a kid, I doubt this will find much of a US audience. No one will hate this, but it won't get much love either. In the end, it just sounds too much like the music that inspired the reaction that was punk rock.