Alas! Modern masters of churning, Incantation-inspired OSDM Grave Miasma have returned after nearly three years of silence since their magnificent debut opus Odori Sepulcrorum blew the minds of death worshipers across the world with its immersive, archaic visions. That feeling of ancient ritual and ceremonial praise of death remains steadfast on their new colossal EP Endless Pilgrimage, a work whose cover art speaks for itself, with the stunning visual of cloaked figures drawn toward the Abyss.
Very much in this manner, the career trajectory of Grave Miasma remains ever clear on Endless Pilgrimage; their intentions, their dedication to the dark arts never in question. The band open things with a nod to the deathly traditions of Hinduism on “Yama Transforms to Afterlife,” a move that immediately draws one’s interest when the song starts with the exotic, eerie twang of the sitar. While its introduction is brief, and does give way to Grave Miasma more or less picking up where they left off on Odori Sepulcrorum with more colossal riffing to bludgeon our already battered eardrums, the sitar does creep back in around the 3:30 mark and its inclusion again comes across eerily, and paves the way for a seismic atmospheric shift that gives this opening track the kind of monumental feeling of elation we’ve come to expect from Grave Miasma.
These guys just don’t fuck around, that’s really all there is to it. At this point, you know what you’re going to get from them, it’s just a matter of what bells and whistles are added to the mix, what other ghastly adornments of death these guys can come up with that will further elevate their already great grasp of all things old school. And you see that moving forward on Endless Pilgrimage with the following track, “Utterance of the Foulest Spirit.” With this monster of a song you again get a dose of that soaring eerie atmosphere the band is so good at crafting amidst their blitzkrieg of down tuned, decay driven riffing, and it even comes complete with a moment of ambience around the 4:30 mark that will take all the air out of the room if you’re among peers thinking you will just simply “hang out” and “listen to some tunes” together.
That is, before a wicked lead kicks things back into gear and you’re hit with another hammer-smashing riff that will get the room head banging once more. And really, that’s the beauty of a band like Grave Miasma: you get to have your cake and eat it too. You get to behold and meditatively gaze into the abyss but you also get to bang your fucking head in the process. This is what they bring to the table, and such duality is something rarely pulled off, and honestly, it’s a thing of beauty, a true testament to the band’s level of craftsmanship. I will say of this release in particular, though, that there are some spectacular leads to be heard, as referenced before. “Purgative Circumvolution” is a relatively no-nonsense, fast-paced song that features such a lead and badass riffery to go with it that makes its four minute and fifty second run time go by in a flash. This is the teaser track that’s been released by the band, and if it’s not enough to make you want to hear the rest then there isn’t much hope for you, I’m afraid. Damn fine track.
Photo: Ester Segarra
“Glorification of the Impure” blasts off with more lead guitar driven fury that weaves in and out of the spotlight throughout the song’s playing time, but mostly in, as I digress – the lead work here is really on display in phenomenal fashion. Coming and going at just the right moments and always elevating the pulse and sting of the song to new heights, you get a buffet of lead work mastery on this re-recording reprise of a song the band wrote in the past under the name of Goat Molester. Mind-blowing goodness to be found here and nothing less.
With plenty of unsettling theatrics on display, “Full Moon Dawn,” the closing track of this mini album, begins and also is a good representation of how well produced this recording is. Each note of every instrument comes through clearly but meshes perfectly in the process to give Endless Pilgrimage the full, yet crisp sound it so rightly deserves. Building and building, “Full Moon Dawn” is nearly nine minutes long, and the richness of its textures cannot be understated. Like the ever-unfolding fate of mankind, this closing track is as deliberate and heart felt as it gets in the realm of OSDM, ending on the highest of notes, and appropriately, with a fading riff reeking of gloomy enlightenment that brings Endless Pilgrimage to a triumphant end. In conclusion, Grave Miasma have done it again. Miss this and you’re missing out – big time.