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Graven Image - "The Future Started Yesterday" (CD)

Graven Image - "The Future Started Yesterday" CD cover image

"The Future Started Yesterday" track listing:

1. One Mistake (5:48)
2. Far Away (4:07)
3. No Atheist in a Foxhole (3:45)
4. Twisted And Broken (6:06)
5. Demons (5:13)
6. The Other Side (4:42)
7. 1600 Deception Avenue (5:07)
8. World of Decay (8:45)
9. The Future Started Yesterday (4:09)

Reviewed by on February 7, 2013

"The song writing is the strongest part of the album, especially when you consider that the main song composer of the majority of these tracks was Coleman, who is self-taught and cannot read music."

Graven Image has seen a long road to the release of the band’s debut album “The Future Started Yesterday.” One of the greatest additions to the band has been in the form of former Beyond Reality/Ex-Weapon X vocalist Martin O’Brien. O’Brien is the Connecticut scene’s secret weapon, a voice known to the locals, but one that needs to be heard worldwide. I come at this review from the “reverse” perspective of having heard the material many times live, but now for the first time as a studio effort. That angle sort of gives new meaning to the title. In the studio, the band successfully captures the essence of the live sound, but many times the sound is slower, much more deliberate, darker, and a whole lot heavier. Of course, much of that has to do with the fact that for many years the band operated with one guitarist live.

The album’s loose concept involving a soldier’s return from the warfront to deal with a post-traumatic type syndrome carefully ties in the themes of what would otherwise be standalone tracks, reminding me a bit of Beyond Reality’s 1997 concept on the album “Lost Shades of Light.” With “The Future Started Yesterday,” O’Brien’s perfectly molds his voice to the feel portrayed through guitarist Paul Coleman’s songwriting, sounding exactly as warranted - crystal clear as in ballads “Far Away,” “Twisted And Broken,” or blatantly evil (“No Atheist In A Foxhole,” “Demons”) – whatever the case may bring. Though his comfort range is in the “deeper version of Graham Bonnet” level, O’Brien can shriek to the rafters with the best of them and stands as one of the local scene’s most versatile vocalist for so many years.

The song writing is the strongest part of the album, especially when you consider that the main song composer of the majority of these tracks was Coleman, who is self-taught and cannot read music. With a ton of balls and all heart, he basically willed his way to becoming a talented composer and soloist. The material varies from straight on heavy traditional (“One Mistake, “1600 Deception Avenue”) to songs with added progressive elements (“World of Decay”) and hard rock ballads (“The Future Started Yesterday”). No matter the style, the songs are catchy, melodic and memorable.

Production-wise, the album sounds a bit dungeon-esque, which only adds to the dark edge/atmosphere of the material. I would have preferred to have the drums sound a little less demo-ish and the acoustics to be a tad sharper, but the overall job by David Vignola was admirable.

“The Future Started Yesterday” is a fine debut from a band with the talent and potential to take the local scene by storm and quickly transcend to the world stage. With O’Brien as the voice and Coleman as the rudder the future looks bright indeed.

Highs: Catchy, melodic, and memorable tunes. O'Brien's vocals are more versatile than ever.

Lows: Production could be a bit tighter and clearer.

Bottom line: Graven Image started long before yesterday, but the future appears bright.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)