Asphalt Graves – “Who Do You Serve” (Stereogum Premiere)

Asphalt Graves are a new collaboration between a bunch of Virginia-area metal veterans with extensive résumés. The band features current Misery Index and ex-Dying Fetus frontman/bassist Jason Netheron, ace drummer Shannon Lucas (best known for his work in the Black Dahlia Murder), and guitarists Brent Purgason and Adam Feris, of GWAR and War Torn, respectively. Netherton is also a death metal historian of considerable note — I highly recommend reading his exhaustive look at the early years of the American death metal underground if you have the slightest interest in how all this racket got going.

It therefore isn’t surprising that Asphalt Graves couch themselves in historical terms too. A self-described “modern take on the classic death/grind of the 1990s,” the band draws heavily on the hooky blastmasters of yore throughout their clipped debut The New Primitive. You can hear a lot of Assück, Righteous Pigs, and “we just became death metal”-era Napalm Death in particular. But the combination of the beeftastic production, Shannon’s pristine blasting, and Netherton’s unmistakeable snarl calls to mind a younger band even more readily: Misery Index. Or rather, the lean and hungry iteration of Misery Index that appeared in the early ’00s, before the band tacked in a more sophisticated and melodic direction. (Their first EP featured a Terrorizer cover that could well have appeared on this record instead.) But all these comparisons kind of sell Asphalt Graves short, as this unit’s got a hyperactive personality all its own. You can hear much of that identity in “Who Do You Serve?” the ripper we’re premiering today, but since it’s all of 80 seconds long, check out previous single “Angst And Praise” too if you like what you hear.

The New Primitive is out 7/8 via Vitriol Records.