album reviews

Lights Out
Nuclear Blast (2012)

Kindred spirits: Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Cream.

One part metal and one part heavy blues-rock, Graveyard has always been steeped in 1970s influences. The Swedish quartet continues that retro hard-rock sound on its third album, "Lights Out", which, like its excellent predecessor, "Hisingen Blues", mixes high-energy rock songs with mellower, rumbling tunes.

Graveyard charges out of the gate with album opener "An Industry of Murder", a fiery blues-rock anthem with a killer riff and feisty vocals. The album's best tracks maintain the same unwavering drive. The fast-paced "Endless Night" bustles with a barely containable chaos, coupling a super-catchy melody with a rapid tempo and wailing guitars. "Goliath", more than any other track, sounds like a long-lost 1970s relic with its slithering guitar solos and singalong choruses.

The group takes on several ballads -- a risky move for such a short album ("Lights Out" clocks in at just over 35 minutes) that doesn't always pay off. The second track, "Slow Motion Countdown", abruptly halts the album's momentum but is eventually redeemed by Joakim Nilsson's haunting howl. The nearly whispered "Hard Times Lovin'" is less successful, a smoldering love song that slows to a crawl and never quite gels.

A few such momentum issues, however, aren't enough to derail "Lights Out". The blazing rock tunes easily trample the memory of the album's few mediocre tracks.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 25 January 2013.
.: Lights Out on