GRAVE DOMAIN IS OSTENSIBLY A BAND.
Grave Domain, the debut album by Grave Domain, featuring the song "Grave Domain". Released 04 Aug 2023.
Rising from the swampy mists of the lower Patapsco River, something's fermenting. It's not the usual dead fish or discarded cadavers. It's Grave Domain. A band conjured by Shel Plock, a so-called musician whose roots stretch back into Baltimore’s grimy 90s rock and experimental scenes like tentacles in the dark. You are about to take a trip through these marshes and the even darker realm that exists just below them. So wear your galoshes, for goodness’ sake. And you might bring some coin change, just to be on the safe side.
BAND: GRAVE DOMAIN
ABOUT THE DEBUT
Listening to Grave Domain's debut release, you will meet a host of characters — all willing to carry you off to the afterworld. On the first track, the ghosts hunt the ghost hunters. While on the second, an obituary turns out to be a bit too familiar. Psychopomps reign over the middle of the album, offering guidance along the way to the unknown. The penultimate song is a cover of an anthem of reincarnation by Demon — a band with roots in the NWOBHM. And the closing song brings it all together, reminding the listener that the time we have is not much, but it's all we've got.
The album has got 39 minutes to deliver its 7 tracks of overdriven lo-fi heavy metal and gothic-tinged hard rock. But the album nearly did not come out...
"Honestly, it was meant to be just a demo in the sense that we used to do demo tapes. Something that I could share with other musicians. Maybe something that could be a starting off point for putting together a touring group or something from which later recordings would be based. It was recorded in rather austere conditions and the working status of much of the gear was vaguely tenable at best. But there was something there, despite any of the blemishes and glitches in the recordings. There was an energy and some memorable hooks. So, I pared down the original 15 songs into the 7 tracks released on the album. Tried to clean it up as much as I could and master it like an old hard rock album rather than one of these brutally loud wall of sound albums. The result is something that should sound good blasting from a car stereo, windows down, racing to the mountains. Who knows where it will lead." — Shel Plock, 2023
Released 04 Aug 2023.
"Something of a concept album... the new collection introduces a 'host of characters' with a prevailing horror theme, track by track. Grave Domain leans into its influences as a 'pastiche of heavy metal, hard rock, and gothic influences derived from music, comic books, and horror novels alike, stitched together like some Frankenstein’s monster with a taste for the anthemic.'" — Wildfire
"One of the highlights of the album is the title track ‘Grave Domain’, it’s eerie and sonically haunting, and certainly serves as the focal point of the album, blending all of the sensibilities of punk from yesteryear along with plenty of gusto." — God is in the TV
"Baltimore based Grave Domain is the one-man metal/hard rock/goth creation of one Shel Plock who took the name from a character he found flipping through a Dungeons & Dragons spell book. Proudly lo-fi in attitude, Grave Domain thunder through such songs as 'Death Notices' and 'Across the Acheron' with a rabid kaleiodoscopic energy, enhanced with strains of psyched-out 70s synthesizer for cheap splatter movie soundtrack effect. Plock signs/burns out with 'Deth Bed' [sic], a great, mad rant squawked through a shredded microphone, as a roiling junk-heap of broken electric guitars and crushed electronics crashes behind him." — The Wire (Issue 475 September 2023)
Ostensibly, this newsletter is about a band.
And in the same way that the band is exploring through lyrics and riffs the nature of the ghost, the psychopomp, and the liminal places between one world and another, the band's newsletter explores that exploration itself more deeply through poetry, essays, and photography.
And of course we're on a near-daily publishing schedule. Options are available both for free and paid subscriptions.
Grave Domain emerged in 2022. The gloomy but overstimulated brainchild of Shel Plock.
Before the emergence of Grave Domain, Shel sang about werewolves with The Violencestring — described by Foxy Digitalis as “a free jazz Tommy”. And before that, he helped start a punk label called AmBiguous City Records and in his spare time put out enough homemade cassettes to make sure that every tiny label specializing in weird music between 1989 and 1999 was able to write off its post office box as a hazard zone. Through much of the late Aughts and early Teens, he was part of the Red Room Collective and helped with the High Zero Festival. And then he disappeared for a bit, during which time he allegedly played in a honky-tonk band, started a black metal commune, and pursued seminal work in semantic technology. Allegedly.
Now, he's back to the heavy roots of his music, but with the addition of a literary voice honed from years on the fringes. Grave Domain is a reflection of this journey, a retrospective, and a preview of what awaits on the opposite side of the abyss. One part rock band, one part spiritual agitator, one part provider of standup punch lines — delivered with a wink and an outstretched hand. This is psychopomp music. Climb on board, we need you to paddle.
This is not merely merch — forged though it may be in the bellows of consumer culture and tempered in the chilly desultory wanderings of the proverbial traveling salesman.
Nay, each thread spun here is done so in tyranny against good taste. This is the closest you'll get to wearing an impenetrable billboard on your chest, an advertisement both sacred and profane, words that mean something to you and to only the few other people like you (or people who got a free shirt as a prize, but who could not tell you what it's all about), oh, and occasionally images on that there shirt which will cause people to take notice even when you were just standing there minding your own business. And oh doesn't that seem like fun? We also have stickers.
Get the stuff here: Grave Domain's Merch Table
For all music-related stuff — including digital downloads, cassettes, and all that sort of thing — visit Bandcamp and be sure to follow us.