June 3, 2009

Mod-A-Day: Gravedigger V

The 80s garage punk revival boasted a number of bands with unique characteristics and tight songs, but few of them had that certain something, that certain unearthly, primitive sort of sound that told you a garage band was getting down to the real nitty gritty. The Gravedigger V had all that and more, or less depending on how you look at it. Their songs were tiny nuggets of gold that had to be sorted out from the monstrously thick cavelike sounds they were sometimes buried in. The guitars were appropriately crunchy, and the drums methodically drove home a primal rhythm that belied the otherwise sense of speed and anxiousness the band gave off. But overall it was the vocals. Oh those vocals, truly spooky. There were screams, and there were shouts, and there was something sort of foreign and snotty that just fit the music well.

The band, younger than most on the scene in those early days, never did see much of their material produced until after they'd broken up. They released one album on Voxx in 1984, All Black and Hairy, and the second album, The Mirror Cracked, didn't appear until 1987, long after they'd already broken up. Some of the members went on to work with The Morlocks, a very similar but more psychadelic garage punk act. The song here, "She Got", was the first I'd ever heard by the band when it appeared on the legendary "Garage Sale" comp in 1985, and it still strikes me as their best.

Gravedigger V - She Got