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Hearse – Traipse Across the Empty Graves

hearse – traipse across the empty graves


Not being aware of their reuniting in 2019, it came to me as a surprise to see Hearse surface with a new release. ‘Traipse Across The Empty Graves’ is their first new material since their second and last demo tape in 1999. Both tapes have seen a re-release three times in the past 20 years, one of them as part of the Suicidal Doom Series on vinyl by the sadly defunct Belgian Painiac Records label in the early 00’s. And to be honest, at the time I thought that this vinyl was nailing the lid to the casket…

But, as so often is the case… Blood seemed thicker than water. So, 25 years after their inception, here we have it, Hearse’ debut album ‘Traipse Across The Empty Graves’. And frankly, it doesn’t quite sounds like a quarter of a century has passed. Their take on Doom Metal is still pretty much the same as on both of their demo tapes from the late 90’s. Not at all based on thick layers of keyboards and a hundred guitar effects, so people who are looking for bands that sound like Shape Of Despair or Esoteric should look elsewhere. Nor are they a band that has 0,666 beats per minute. Instead Hearse’ sound is built upon a traditional basis of thick guitars, sinister melodies and barking vocals that all blend together into sombre atmospheres. This is as closest as you can get to early 90’s Doom/Death Metal, a true homage to ‘Gothic’-era Paradise Lost and the Dutch Doom/Death Metal scene (Mystic Charm, Beyond Belief or (very) early Celestial Season and The Gathering springs to mind). The rather dry production also fits the songs just well and adds to the overall 90’s feel. This is a sound and style that you unfortunately no longer encounter on a daily basis, let alone executed in this authentic fashion.

Looking back, it might have taken a while and this debut came as a total surprise to me, ‘Traipse Across The Empty Graves’ makes up for the waiting. Still the world of slow and gloom within the metal scene is pretty much a niche for connoisseurs, so if you are into bands like Thergothon, Unholy, Winter early Paradise Lost and Anathema you can confidently pick this up. It did inspire me to dig up my copies of both demo tapes and, after all these years, give them a well-deserved spin.


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