Welcome to Demo:listen, your weekly peek into the future of underground metal. Whether it’s death, black, doom, sludge, grind, thrash, heavy, speed, progressive, stoner, retro, post-, etc. we’re here to bring you the latest demos from the newest bands. On this week’s Demo:listen, we spike the drinking water with Cleveland’s Grave Plague.
Sometimes the bands we feature find us. Such is the case with Cleveland’s hard-hitting death metal upstarts, Grave Plague, whose debut The Infected Crypts landed in the Demo:listen inbox like an order from on high. More of a suggestion, really, but Bossman knows what a sucker I am from the buzz-and-rip of some good death metal. So when Thomas Haywood, bassist of Grave Plague, was directed my way, and I listened to The Infected Crypts tracks, I knew I’d found the perfect, first-of-the-year, Friday the 13th demo.
“I know this is a bit cliché, but we wanted to create music we wanted to hear. The ‘Old School’ sound seems to be all the rage these days, but to us, it’s just how death metal is suppose to sound,” says Haywood. Now there’re more ways than one to eviscerate a listener, but Grave Plague have, indeed, nailed a very specific death metal sound. Their own. Grave Plague’s The Infected Crypts is at once a lesson in crafting exemplary death metal and an intimidating debut that ought to send some pretenders back to their mama’s basement.
“A lot of these newer bands don’t really have an identity of their own. I’ve listened to some and hear damn near verbatim Entombed riffs,” Haywood says. “We want to pay homage to the bands that influenced us most while keeping our own identity.” In defense of all other, especially all other newer bands: few of them hail from Cleveland. Have you been to Cleveland? Because, more than sounding like any other band, or two, Grave Plague sound like they’re from Cleveland. That city that brought us Embalmer, Decrepit, Ringworm, Bowel, Integrity, etc. Like all of those bands, Grave Plague got this blunt edge to them.
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Haywood says: “I tracked all the [The Infected Crypts] material in Cleveland, Ohio at my old place, Caleb [Bingham, one of Grave Plague’s guitarist] handled the mixing duties at his studio, Nightmare Sound in Los Angeles, and our good friend, JB Van Der Wal (Aborted, Herder) handled the mastering duties at his spot, Hewwetover Studios, in the Netherlands.” In its complete form, Grave Plague is Joseph Reed on vocals, Caleb Bingham and Michael Wilson on guitars, Anthony Biello on drums, and, my contact, Thomas Haywood on bass. According to Haywood: “[Biello] is actually the one responsible for getting this band together—it was originally just him and I—he really wanted to do something old school a la Autopsy and pushed me forever until I finally wrote [The Infected Crypts].”
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