Djent has been holding strong as a genre for more than a decade now. Whether you throw it back to Periphery, Structures and Volumes, or prefer the fresh blood of Time the Valuator, VOLA, and Unprocessed, the groovy, ethereal soundscapes mixed with baffling time signatures and head-bobbing eight-string guitar riffs make for a unique swing of metal that still sees up-and-comers to this day. I’m delighted to introduce you to Graviton, a newer project that will see their debut, The Reaping of Eternity, out on January 6, 2023. The group is comprised of vocalist Rheese Peters (Babirusa), guitarist Drew Klugger (Lost Conduit), guitarist Tate Senhenn, and drums written by session drummer Rangi Barnes (Babirusa, I, Valiance, Pandamic) – a veritable supergroup. Let’s dive in and check out what the newest offering in djent can provide to our ears.
Graviton got their start with debut single “God Eater” almost a year prior to The Reaping of Eternity‘s release, via the reputable Slam Worldwide YouTube channel. Spreading a few more singles out across 2022, Graviton announced the album just this month. They write: “This album is part one in a series that tells the story of a universe in which Godlike extra-terrestrial beings must create and sustain life in order to sustain themselves. It is told mostly from the perspective of one of the created races and their experiences, occasionally shifting to the perspective of the higher beings themselves“.
The Reaping of Eternity opens up with “Eidolon” setting the stage with a jungly climactic build into one of the nastiest high screams I’ve heard in recent memory. Not long after comes overlapping guitar/bass runs that never let up, and Peters flexing his control over high and low registers of uncleans. Ample blast beats and double bass cement the sheer heaviness of this project as the album opener proves to be an impactful first impression. “Serve the Unseen Despot” follows, and I can’t understate the production value, even this early on – exceptional layering, vocal effects, balance between every instrument – this record was fine-tuned to perfection. This is best highlighted when you hear Peters echo a phrase between a squeal and a growl simultaneously to satisfying effect. Solos abound, breakdowns-a-plenty, this track is the whole package.
“Archon I: Expulse” is up next – expect more of Peters’ signature highs atop a blistering riff in the first of two in this duology of tracks. I particularly appreciated the use of killswitch and a bass-highlighted moment in this piece. On to “Begging the Heavens”, which brings about the genre-staple synth intro, a more deliberate, slower tempo, and vocal pitches that Peters explores with sharp punctuality. What was a mere footnote in the previous track turns into the bass getting the spotlight for the entire outro, much to my delight. “Dread Arcanum” is the longest song on the album, boasting some clean vocals and a bridge that finally introduces the more melodic side of Graviton. There’s also an appearance from Nathaniel Smith from LUNE who happens to mesh with the intensity seamlessly.
With “Archon II: Abolition”, there’s a semblance of cohesion across tracks that hearkens back to the band’s extraterrestrial concept for The Reaping of Eternity. This track has the best guitar solo on the record, as well as more than one memorable breakdown – certainly worthy of being one of Graviton’s best-performing songs to date. “Recreate” brings even more punchy breakdowns, well-produced synth runs, and a pace that never lets up. More clean vocals come with more nuance than “Dread Arcanum” to make it a big moment, as cleans are far and few in-between on The Reaping of Eternity. “World of Fear” further confuses my choice for best breakdown Graviton has to offer as the closing effort just straight-up slaps. We wrap up with “God Eater” which was the public’s first look into Graviton – at this point, anyone on-board knows exactly how The Reaping of Eternity finishes: unrelenting double bass, guitars that keep up, layered synth, and a knockout performance from Rheese Peters.
Wow, what a way to kick off 2023 for fans of djent. If you haven’t heard of Graviton, here’s your chance – this supergroup really has it all for fans of the genre, whether it’s a breakdown that you physically cannot refuse to headbang to, or a pig squeal that will raise your eyebrows for you. While you know what to expect in each track throughout the record, this is a case of “don’t fix what isn’t broken” – variety is unnecessary when the sound is this fine-tuned and deliberate. Graviton’s The Reaping of Eternity solidifies itself as the best thing you’ll hear at the start of 2023, and must-listen territory for fans of djent/progressive deathcore.
A review stream for The Reaping of Eternity was provided courtesy of Graviton.