The most distinct initial impression fans of Second Grave will hear is how Benthic Realm moves. Gone are the long, slow builds that Krista Van Guilder fronted once before in that aforementioned doom outfit replaced with the urgency of a fresh band on the road towards some truly righteous gloom rawk.
That’s right, though, fans of Second Grave can finally rejoice as Van Guilder has returned with Benthic Realm: a whole new outfit to stretch her vocal and riff chops. And honestly, how can you not fall in love with Van Guilder’s voice the moment you hear it? I mean, really?
“Save Us All” starts this puppy off and is like a Black Sabbath meets High On Fire behemoth. Van Guilder’s voice shines through the darkness while Dan Blomquist absolutely pummels the shit out of the skins. Remember Brant Bjork on the first few Kyuss records? Yeah, that’s what this sounds like. And just when you feel like you have a sense of what Benthic Realm is all about, Van Guilder reminds you that she can be just as saucy as she can be sweet with a vicious vocal delivery towards the end that brings to mind some of Angela Gossow’s more fiery screams.
“Thousand Day Rain” starts with that drumming with these huge, monolithic even, Sabbath-ian (Damn, did we reference that band again??) riff pillars from Van Guilder with Maureen Murphy playing the Geezer Butler part by providing a low end that doesn’t just echo the main shreds but accents them with a counterpoint rumble until “I Will Not Bow” drops and it’s another new ballgame yet again! Oh yeah, and it’s all instrumental.
“Untethered” comes in to close out the album and is a pummeling, driving mess…in all the best ways possible! The track, and EP, is Heart meets the Melissa Auf der Maur-fronted Sabbath band Hand Of Doom (Goddammit! Another Sabbath reference?!?) and soulful Doom at its’ absolute finest.