Grafjammer, hailing from Utrecht, the Netherlands, is not a band that likes to sit still. Although formed back in 2007 and it took the band five years to come up with their first recordings, since then they have been pouring new potions of their Blackened art over us with great regularity. And not infrequently that is in the form of a shared piece of vinyl, previously finding partners in Chimæra, Chotzä and fellow townsmen Wrang. On this latest chapter, Grafjammer sought their collaboration with southern neighbours Abrahamic Liars from Antwerp, Belgium. For the insider this may not be too surprising, as Grafjammer vocalist Jorre contributed the vocals on a song on the band’s only feat back in 2020.
Gallantly like a true gentleman, Jorre lets his Flemish friends lead the way and they therefore open this split with their contribution, ‘Saptem En Sterf’. For those who already heard ‘Genesis’, this latest track will not offer anything of a surprising twist. The album, with all its different singers and musical styles, was a bit of a disjointed affair and thus a bit difficult to digest. Of course, that is a lot easier with a single song on such a split EP. The mixture between blazing Black Metal with a Death Metal edge and a good dose of crusty-funkiness sounds crisp again and will therefore definitely please fans of the debut album. Personally, I especially find singer Cin’s somewhat forced screeching vocals (see there the Crusty element) very hard to swallow.
Grafjammer, on the other hand, sounds a lot more cohesive and mature; indeed, the constant perfecting of that specific Grafjammer sound is what has struck me most with this latest track. ‘Gadoot’ not only sounds a lot bulkier and more massive, it is mainly the strength of the individual musical elements that makes the song so powerful. After 15 years of polishing the musical concept, it has now become too easy to dismiss Grafjammer as a typical or even yet another Motörhead-on-Black-Metal band. There will probably always be a certain driving Rock ‘n’ Roll vibe reflected in the music, but now more than ever the band gets into a niche where it can rightfully speak of its own musical identity. Razor-sharp guitars, heavily pounding drums and especially Jorre’s raw throat make Grafjammer without a doubt one of Holland’s most recognisable Black Metal bands.
Sure, a split EP is no contest, particularly not between two befriended bands, but I can’t quite shake off the quality difference. While both bands fit together musically just fine as such, it is clearly Grafjammer who walks away with a 10-8 round here. Indeed, ‘Gadoot’ is probably the best thing the band has unleashed on our tender souls so far.