Front1Featuring members of Ohio bands US Metal and Wretch, Graven Image was a Los Angeles-based heavy metal band active in the early 1990’s. Graven Image managed to avoid the more popular hair metal sound, and didn’t go the grunge route either, instead opting for an old school metal sound along the lines of Judas Priest, Winter’s Bane and Sanctuary.

Graven Image had a great heavy guitar sound – not quite thrash, but with plenty of punch – and Jimmy Williams’ “screaming for vengeance” style vocals really stand out. According to the liner notes, Williams was once a mentor to Tim “Ripper” Owens, who later went on to (briefly) front Iced Earth and Judas Priest. The songwriting is solid, though not terribly original. Still, it rocks hard and I’m always up for some old school heavy metal. Obviously, 1992 was a bad time to start a metal band, so despite an abundance of talent, the band never reached a wider audience and called it quits in 1996. If you’re a fan of the classic American traditional metal sound – bands like Winter’s Bane, Sanctuary, Armored Saint, Helstar, etc. – you should definitely give this collection a try.

Edition Notes: Retrospect’s 2008 Graven Image collection features all of the available Graven Image recordings from 1992-1996. The sound quality is good, though the liner notes don’t say whether or not any remastering was done. Speaking of the inserts, they’re pretty flimsy, with grainy photos and hard to read text. Still, it’s great to have these vintage metal songs collected on CD.

1. Soul Crusher
2. The Silent Truth
3. Gates of Steel
4. Beat
5. Wish You Were Dead
6. King of Nothing
7. Masters Voice
8. Fry
9. Rippin Away
10. Fall of the Free
11. Soul Crusher (alternate version)

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Graven Image – Graven Image 1992-1996 (2008)

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