Aggressive devilry and riotous adrenaline is the order of the day as Finnish crossover punks Graveyard Shifters unleash the follow-up to their well-received debut EP of last year. Their new brawling punk ‘n’ roll stomp comes in the hellacious shape of first album High Heels & Broken Bones, a tempest of punk, metal, and raw rock ‘n’ roll with the intent of taking the world on a tour of bone crushing, senses devouring partying. At the same time band and release storm through the explosive highs and lows of life, dragging out the belligerent animal in us all for a non-stop ride of fury and fierce revelry.
Bursting out of Kerava Graveyard Shifters began in 2013, taking little time to make a thick impression with their imposing sound and similarly impacting live presence. Within six months the Brainwashed by Moonshine EP was uncaged to rouse up attention and eager support, its release last year the seed to the broad recognition now being forcibly nudged by High Heels & Broken Bones. Their new ten track protagonist demands you take notice, insists you take part, and leads the listener on a unassailable rampage of bad mannered, virulently contagious rock ‘n’ roll. It might not be the most original incitement, but as the thoroughly enjoyable trigger to mischievous deeds and thrills, it is a job superbly done.
High Heels & Broken Bones opens up with its title track and an immediate rage of rowdy riffs and thumping rhythms stirred up by the antagonistic scowls of vocalist J. Matilainen. Infectious hooks and anthemic band calls proceed to litter the insatiable call to party arms, the track like a mix of Kvelertak and Turbonegro with the punk devilment of a Black Flag as the guitars of V. Vainionpää and H. Kansonen kick up a sonic storm around voice and rhythms.
With a slightly more merciful start, the following Tearvomitor keeps things blazing intensely, its initial lure of riffs and sonic enterprise a rich spice against the exploding beats of drummer A. Salmenoja and the predacious tones of J. Sumkin’s bass. The song is soon an eyeballing, energy igniting punk roar equipped with seriously enticing hooks and again great vocal chants from across the band. Once more you can argue there are few surprises with it yet the song is a memorable and seriously potent stirring of emotions and appetite swiftly backed by the just as hostile and magnetic Buy Low, Sell High. The metal seeding of the guitar’s invention is a compelling lure caged again by a bruising conflict of attitude and confrontation rooted in vocals and rhythms, the combination a keen and flavoursome riling of ear and air.
Love On The Rocks strolls in next with a hard rock swagger and potent catchiness, its early invitation a friendly, almost poppy persuasion but just the lure into another ferocious uproar. Except this time this outburst is just one evolving moment in the imagination and sound of the song, mellow vocals and spicy hard rock tenacity revolving with aggressive and infectious elements. The most adventurous and striking track on the album so far, it is a highly pleasing, expectations defying proposal quickly emulated by both the stylish rancor of Bender with its great tempting of piano amidst rousing vocals and melodic metal guitar flames, and in turn the grizzled temperament of Pocket Puppet Show. The first of the two moves from a bright and almost cheery antagonism into a death metal bled rancor whilst the second is part hardcore and part extreme metal inhospitality with just the right amount of rock ‘n’ roll wantonness, and equally one compelling threat.
A melodic caress emerges from the ire of the song, serenading ears until the inflammatory sounds of Firestarter burn the senses and atmosphere alike. There is nothing especially dramatic and stand out about the track, or so you think, but by its seriously satisfying end it is a lingering incitement, though to be fair quickly overshadowed by the outstanding dark charm of Doomsdaydreaming. Gothic in its climate, caustic in tone, the song is a thick blackened detonation of metal virulence and punk bad blood, like Andrew W.K. and Agnostic Front in an unrestrained dust-up.
Beerserker is a similar type of ravishment, though more metal driven in its character around a furious punk heart, and another making a stronger and more potent impression than first thought, a success echoed by the closing Finnish animosity of Kyynelyökkönen. The last track bellows and incites with ease, riffs and rhythms the gripping web for bitter toned vocals and sonic trespasses to spring from.
It is a fine end to a mightily enjoyable encounter, and for us introduction to Graveyard Shifters. High Heels & Broken Bones is maybe not an album to change your world but undoubtedly will be a hefty nudge to change your listening habits.
High Heels & Broken Bones is available from June 12th on Eternal Sound on CD and digitally.