During an interview a few years ago, Conan’s Jon Davis told me he didn’t want to release music by his worshipped band on his own Black Bow label, in an effort to keep the two projects separate. Well, Ungraven is no Conan. A darker, more Industrial beast than the Caveman Doom outfit he has lovingly tended to for the past thirteen years, debut EP Language Of Longing (Black Bow Records) sees the more savage edges roughened up and thrust to the fore.
As if to prove a point ‘Blackened Gates Of Eternity’ fizzes out of the blocks, the guitars crushing yet firing a hostile fulmination that threatens to dwarf Davis’ renowned screams from the mountaintop. It’s an incredibly powerful opening salvo which is ended by an almighty tubthumping session. The ensuing, pacier ‘Impale Love’ has more of a Punk roar about it and it’s remarkable, given that every instrument is turned up to twenty, that a tuneful and catchy edge finds its way through even allowing Davis to incorporate – wait for it – a crowd-pleasing shoutalong.
‘Aggro Master’ is, quite frankly, an abominable assault on the senses. It is a coming together of the Gods, a pulsing might which batters and floods the mind with malevolent yet delicious anger45, the harrowing bellow an enhancement of the brutality surrounding it. There’s a certain amount of suitability to the gallop of ‘Onward She Rides To A Certain Death’: a pounding groove given terrifying omen by slashing riffs and that horrific larynx.
Closer ‘Targetted’ shows more emphasis on the Doom pace but the resonance of a humming bass riff obliterates all in its path, while the already monstrous drums are turned into toys for a troll’s bludgeon. It’s a track whose hypnotic power seems bizarrely strengthened by the lack of a vocal and, despite its focus being on brute force alone, it remains a boneshaking, addictive experience. Language Of Longing exhibits a new vitality in Davis and while similarities with Conan cannot be denied, Ungraven possesses a fresh urgency that stands tall in its own right.
8 / 10