Pure Sacramento California Badness: Graveshadow


We at Metal Nexus always pay attention to those that are watching what we are doing and writing and converse with those that choose to leave comments and messages for us. This is a big reason we do what we do. We love the music and those that have our same interests. A huge labor of love, shall we say. Well, every now and again, something that crosses our paths here unexpectedly. I was reviewing some of our posts and seeing if there were any band members watching our articles and came across William Lloyd Walker III, rhythm guitarist for Graveshadow. After about five minutes of poking around their website and Facebook page, I started listening to their music. Blown away. Simply floored. After contacting Mr. Walker, I was allowed access to their latest release “Nocturnal Resurrection”. After listening to it on a loop for the better part of three days, this band is deserving our readers’ attention as well.


Take my word for it or see their awards and nominations for: 2015 “Sammie” (Sacramento Area Music Awards) nomination for the best Metal band, 2016 “Sammie” nominee for “Artist of the Year” and “Release of the Year” and winning the 2016 winner for “Best Metal Band”. I guess I am not the only one that thinks Graveshadow is completely bad-ass! Lucky for me, William Walker was also the founder of the band back in 2012. The current line-up also includes Heather Michele on vocals, Matt Mitchell on lead guitar, Valerie Hudak playing keyboards, Roman Anderson killing the drums and Ben Armstrong rounding things out on bass. Since the Sacramento News & Review considers Graveshadow a Symphonic Metal band, I will go with that for my sub-genre categorization. This music is thick with no wasted notes or words. The guitar work of Mitchell and Walker is as heavy as anything in the bottom, right-hand corner of the periodic table with sharper, mellifluous leads and ever changing tempos driven by Armstrong’s strong bass lines and Anderson’s exceptional drumming capabilities. Adding an ever-present, beautiful harmony to the mix, Hudak’s keyboard chops genuinely shine. These are not interludes or bridges, but an integral part of what makes Graveshadow’s sound so distinguishable among their peers. There is definitely enough going on here to easily be a successful instrumental band. But then, of course, there are the vocals of Heather Michele. Her vocals are deserving of talent among her band mates. This is definitely a case of Jekyll and Hyde. When first listening to “Namesake”, Micheles’s operatic voice soars through the stratosphere until the chorus hits with some of the most harsh growling outside of Arch Enemy’s Alissa WhiteGluz or Once Human’s Lauren Hart. Quite shocking that one of the most beautiful and moving voices can also be so brutally abused; like an opera singer before and after gargling turpentine. Quite outlandish, really; yet so appropriate in its use. Lyrical subject matter for Graveshadow range from stories of intimate, personal conflicts to the fantasy world of brimstone and dragons; all with the feel of classic storytelling. Clean vocals used for the story, guttural growling to convey the meaning and moral of the tale being told. Pure, unadulterated genius that is so deeply engaging that I found it nearly impossible to use Graveshadow as background music while doing anything else; finding myself distracted back to the music almost constantly. Black hole music: once you hit the Event Horizon, there is no escaping Graveshadow’s magical aura, which is just fine with me.

EP NocturnalResurrection

Two years after Graveshadow’s inception, they released the band’s first EP and shortly thereafter signed on with Jeff Keller (The Artery Foundation) “for management representation” and began opening for Thrash Heroes, Flotsam and Jetsam, who Keller also manages. With influences ranging from Nightwish, Kamelot, Moonspell, Sinamore, Amon Amarth, Type O Negative, Draconian, Delain and Iced Earth, Graveshadow started work on their late 2015, debut release of “Nocturnal Resurrection” on the Mausoleum Record label. With mastering by Deathstars EmilNightmareNovtveidt, production by MattHazmattThomas and guest vocals Primal Fear’s Ralf Scheepers on the Dr. Who inspired song “Blink”, this album is exceptional in every way. If you want to see Graveshadow live, they can often be seen touring in and around California and is currently on tour with Anvil for a full tour of the continental United States. In the interim, do yourself a favor and buy “Nocturnal Resurrection”. Just don’t listen to it while driving or operating heavy machinery. Graveshadow WILL drive you to distraction…


Tour1 Tour2


More information on Graveshadow can be found on: Web  Facebook  Twitter  ReverbNation


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About Odyssey

I have had a life-long love of music, but from the first time I heard Kiss and Black Sabbath with my landlord's son in Nicholasville, KY in the mid 70's, I have been hooked on Hard Rock and Metal. While my tastes in music have done nothing but expand since then, Metal remains closest to my heart. In addition, I have played bass, still play guitar and have literally 1000's of CDs/MP3s, so my knowledge is long steeped and honest. I don't buy the whole splintered, sub-genres thing and choose to like bands and music based solely on individual merits. Obviously, this is always colored by my mood, what I need at any given point and time and what is generally pleasing to my ear. I also don't like to rip any music or band, instead having an open mind and ear for it all because I have a passion for it all. It is completely subjective and in a constant state of flux. Consider me a music "nerd" not a music "snob". As an extension of this love, I hope to share this passion with everyone here and learn from your passion as well! - Odyssey -

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