BY MICHAEL TOLAND
When Graveyard first appeared, the Swedish quartet was hailed for its bluesy proto-metal sound, somewhere between Blue Cheer and what music nerds imagine Black Sabbath sounded like when it was still called Earth. Four albums in, however, the band has transcended the hard rock specialty aisle to just rock and roll. That’s not to say Innocence & Decadence doesn’t still fly the 70s retro flag Graveyard has proudly hung from its pole – just that it’s expanded beyond its metallic roots into more eclectic and, yes, accessible territory. “Magnetic Shunk” and “From a Hole in the Wall” (sung by returning founder Truls Mörck) kick out the jams in the group’s old-school style. “Can’t Walk Out” and “The Apple & the Tree” essay a gritty version of folk rock, while the ballad “Far Too Close” and rocker “Hard-Headed” dig deeper into the blues.
“Too Much is Not Enough” is Graveyard’s version of a soul ballad, with frontman Joakim Nilsson giving one of his most controlled but passionate performances, while the quiet, sedate “Stay For a Song” is unlike anything the band’s done before.
Graveyard incorporates as many repurposed elements of Free and the Faces as it does from Sabbath, putting more melody into their attack, and Nilsson responds with the most nuanced vocals of his career so far. Innocence & Decadence is an impressive accomplishment, one that sets the stage for a masterpiece to come.
DOWNLOAD: “The Apple & the Tree,” “From a Hole in the Wall,” “Stay For a Song”