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Stage Buzz: Graveyard

A hierarchy naturally develops in response to the deluge of daily emails and bubble-wrapped parcels touting this dynamic experimental duo or that rootsy hardscrabble foursome. We all have our idiosyncrasies to separate the wheat from the chaff when confronted with glowing, often out of context recommendations from the scribes on a record label’s payroll. Often gut instinct silences the adjective-happy pushers, but sometimes an odd feature wins out in the fight for supremacy on the day’s playlist. In the case of Swedish hard rockers Graveyard, extraordinary facial hair tipped the scales. (Hey, no one claimed the selection process was scientific or fair.)

The quartet’s shaggy whiskers protrude over their upper lips and cascade down to the base of their chiseled jaw lines, making it the perfect resting place for beer foam (fittingly, the band dabbles in the brewing industry with an American Pale Lager coined after its second album, Hisingen Blues). Forget the clichés about deceiving appearances or judging books by their covers, Graveyard’s ’70s machismo bleeds into the thundering drums, dungeon-lair basslines, and Usain Bolt-like guitar sprints that mark last November’s breakout, Lights Out (Nuclear Blast). Leading the swampy conglomerate of Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, and early Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac is frontman Joakin Nilsson. Far from the thrashing and indecipherable screeching turning away seekers of nuance from metal’s riveted door, Nilsson sounds like Robert Plant’s nicotine-riddled cousin on the chugging “Goliath” and injects some of the Golden God’s smolder on “Slow Motion Countdown.” Billowing blues riffs continue to usurp the band’s natural laconic tendencies on “Hard Times Lovin'” while “The Suits, The Law & The Uniforms” melts the frozen tundra of Graveyard’s heart to reveal Lynyrd Skynyrd neophytes. (Tuesday@Lincoln Hall.)

— Janine Schaults

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