Common Graves is the third album from Ukranian black metal band, Nabaath. Their bandcamp page reads: "To the Darkness beyond usual understanding of world and existence, Journey across the Void to the Abyss, All is bounded in Common Graves, infinite, desecrated, doomed, Path will never end, Flowing through the Unholy Blackness far beyond the fake borders, Hail to the Dark, Void, Death." Once more, if you are looking from some no-frills black metal in the vein of Satyricon, etc; this may be the album for you.
Honestly, I don't think much needs to be said about this one. The suffocating atmosphere of tracks like "Coming of Era," "Nuclear Satan," and the title track do it enough for themselves (the latter being my favorite). Nabaath like to alternate between slower, foreboding arrangments and faster variations of double bass and tremolo. Dissonant shrieks of distortion are offset by more melodic leads that run the gamut from folky to funeral. The layering of these parts with the meaty bass and stellar drumming is quite impressive.
Which brings me to another point: the production on this album is superb. Common Graves hits that sweet spot I often mention between balance and rawness. Each layer of the music can be heard crystal clear, and they seem to be in perfect harmony when it comes to levels. The vocals are just loud enough for the blackened screams to be commanding, the guitars all come through perfectly, and the drums kill it without overpowering the mix. Put a nice layer of reverb on the package like a nice bow, and this one is fit to go under some unholy Christmas tree. And all of this without running into the polished, overloud problems of most modern releases. Kudos.
If I do have a primary complaint with the abum it's not in my innovation or musicianship ratings. For a black metal album that set out to be in this particular style, everything goes over quite well. It's just that I find it to be somewhat uneven. I was a little bored in the first half, and it's not really until "Coming of Era" rolls around that I really start getting into it. That being said, I think these guys have a lot of potential and have created a record that far surpasses the more recent output of their better-known peers. I hope they keep me updated in the future.