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Graven’s Pedigree Pays Dividends on Their “Heirs of Discord” EP

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It’s hard to believe it’s been 13 years since Swarm of the Lotus released The Sirens of Silence, but the time elapsed allows it to be appreciated possibly even more than when it was released by the Century Media offshoot Abacus Recordings in 2005. The group’s second album was a turgid affair that fused sludge metal heft with math metal progressiveness. It was the same blueprint as Baroness but with a far grittier and bludgeoning sound, possibly a result of emerging from hardscrabble Baltimore streets.

Everyone knows what happened next: Baroness blew up. Swarm of the Lotus broke up.

At the time, vocalist/guitarist Peter Maturi dejectedly said that “after years of mostly struggle to even exist, I have come to the realization that it has always been somewhat of a broken project trying desperately to push forward.” However, even then he hinted at “future projects.”

Graven (not to be confused with the Bavarian black metallers of the same name) is that project. The group, now featuring Maturi alongside former Swarm bassist Chris Csar who drums in Graven, Teddy Patterson (Burnt By The Sun, Human Remains, Gridlink) and vocalist Jason Borowy, self-released a debut EP The Filth Will Cleanse in 2012. However, not long after releasing two songs on a split release with Burn Everything and Reckoner on Dullest Records in 2014, the band went on hiatus.

Logistics likely played a part with members currently residing in Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey, and Florida. However, they had the resolve to finally regroup. It took multiple studios across the country and over a year to record, but the resulting Heirs of Discord EP is worth the wait. Check out a full stream of the entire EP below.

With this new EP, the band seems like they have gotten angrier over time. This is evident with a frantic pace that approaches nearly grindcore levels of intensity during “A Failed Mask” and especially “Backwards to Oblivion,” and how Borowy comes off as someone who grew up on hardcore but appreciated death metal as well.

According to Matiri, the release is a culmination of what was started with Swarm of the Lotus.

“I can’t speak for all of the other members but for me personally, Heirs of Discord is a crowning achievement. If you liked any of the SOTL material and have followed us all this way along with the beginnings of Graven till now, I think it’s the best representation of our crazy, hybrid style to date.

“I think stylistically we’ve matured and pushed things in all different directions and amped up the extreme,” he continued. “It’s a deeply personal and dark record. I’ve always used music as an outlet to exorcise my personal demons and this album is no different. I’m proud of all of us for coming together and making this gargantuan, chaotic, stress-inducing project work.”

Those missing the aforementioned technical ecstasy can skip to album closer “Human.” The guitars squeal, the rhythm chugs along gamely and Patterson ravages his bass. Their combined efforts and a sick breakdown show that Maturi can still churn out menacing metalcore when the inspiration strikes. Said Patterson of the Human Remains cover: “Getting to revisit ‘Human’ with Chris grinding it out and with Pete’s vision puts a whole new twist and perspective on a song that’s always been a blast to play!

“This project has been a long time coming, ever since SOTL and BBTS used to play together. We have always wanted to do something, funny how it took around ten years to finally do it!”

The Heirs of Discord EP will be released this Friday on the band’s own Negative Grade Records. It is available digitally through Bandcamp, and the band promises an extremely short run of lathe-cut vinyl versions of the album for die-hard fans down the road.

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