E.P. Review: Engraver – Behind
Reviewed by Jon Wigg
From the first ominous notes of Engraver’s first E.P., Behind, there is no doubting the influences in play on this 5 track slab. Taken straight from a multitude of 80’s slasher flicks, the synth notes and screams fill the intro with dread and this is backed up with the cover depicting a knife wielding killer stabbing the buxom victim. So far, so stereotypical.
Once these Italians get going, the music is derivative and often obvious, but bugger me it’s fun. ‘Desire To Kill’ starts as a mixture of mid-paced thrash riffing with death metal vocals before a soaring solo paves the way for some classic 80’s speed metal reminiscent of early Metallica. One criticism of modern thrash metal is that it can be very one paced - breakneck - and after a few songs it’s easy to get a bit bored and move on. That is not the case with Engraver who mix tempos really well within songs and between the 4 main tracks here.
The tempo is upped in ‘The Last Victim’ which sounds like a homage to Slayer with a nice change of pace mid-song and some great chug. Another polished solo section gives way to a frantic finish and a satisfying climax. ‘Kill You Again’ rages hard after a well constructed and played intro, and the main riff is superb.
The more progressive closer ‘Hiding The Curse’ is the star of this E.P. At over 9 minutes, it really allows the band to show off all of their songwriting and performing skills, from the razor sharp riffing, soaring solos and brilliant rhythm section, this takes the listener on a proper thrash journey. The influences are still there to hear - sections taken straight from Slayer, Metallica, Exodus mixed in with some classic Priest/Maiden style solos - and Engraver do a good job of putting their own style into the song. The haunting instrumental ending is excellent if slightly long at over 2 minutes, but it fits well.
Considering Engraver only formed in 2019 and had to deal with the pandemic for most of their time together, this is an excellent start. Overall it’s fairly obvious stuff and it needs a bit of polish, but the passion they have for this type of metal is clearly heard and I’m really looking forward to seeing what these Italian maniacs will produce next. A lot of fun and well worth 28 minutes of any metalhead's time.