Imagine gothic rock, punk rock, and horror elements all rolled into one. Does that sound like an oxymoron to anyone? That might seem like a definite yes to many, but these four musicians from Indiana would definitely call that absurd. Grave Robber began this journey into gothic horror punk music in 2005 with the intension of speaking the language of a culture that shuns the ideas and beliefs of Christianity. Many will see them as Satanists from Hell or visual copycats of G.W.A.R. or Slipknot, but Grave Robber's imagery and lyrical content featured on their debut album, Be Afraid, have a significance that has never been attempted in Christian music.
The album opens with "The Exorcist" interlude and sets a very dark and creepy mood to the album. They quickly burst out with energy on the next track "Skeletons," which deals with a cold-blooded killer who comes to the realization that his actions need to stop and that needs to seek spiritual help, "Murder dwells in my mind, I won't forgive you because you are my prey, Watch out when you go out tonight, I have skeletons in my closet, Someone clean the closet out." Another noteworthy track is "Bloodbath," a very creative lyrical song about the Lamb of God ready to wash away the sins of a man and his family, "He's coming for you and your children too, You won't be able to resist, You're next on His list." Another noteworthy song is "Buried Alive," which deals with an individual tempted by the evil of the world but chooses to seek guidance from the Lord instead, "The poison of vipers on my lips, I need the blood to flow freely, Wave upon wave of innocent blood, Poured out for a wretch like me, I need to see the light."
There are only a small handful of complaints on this album. One is that the album seems too short running in at only 40 minutes in length with a total of 15 tracks. This is due to the fact that most punk rock songs run for 2 to 3 minutes long and that's how long each song lasts on Be Afraid. Other times, the lead vocalist nicknamed Wretched has a somewhat plain voice and chooses not to sing to his full potential on certain songs. A hidden bonus track, the remixed version of "Rigor Mortis" does not offer anything new and probably should have just been left off this release. On the cover, you see a skeleton in a monk's clothing while carrying a shovel in a graveyard during the daytime. This would have made more sense if this took place at night, and if this cover had been given more of the look and feel of a professional graphic designer's touch.
Not necessarily a masterpiece, but definitely a good effort from a new band attempting to point people in the right direction. The band does not refer to Jesus or God by name, but true believers and open-minded individuals will be able to connect the dots between the band's faith and lyrical content. There are a few flaws here and there with the vocals, but hard rock fans should rejoice in Be Afraid as these are only minor flaws. Do not let the artwork fool you; this is a good album for Christians who love Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, and all forms of punk rock. Others who are not fans of the genre need to pay no heed to Grave Robber.- Review date: 11/19/08, written by Fred Keel of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Retroactive Records
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