Besides Entombed, Unleashed and Dismember, Grave stood at the cradle of pure Swedish old school death metal. Their first album ‘Into the Grave’ is a must own for everyone who names him-herself a death metal fan. Grave is a stable factor in the scene and they have never released an album below average. They never denied their roots like Entombed did for example.
The only member left from the early years is Ola Lindgren (vocals, guitar), but still, the band has its own recognizable sound. The predecessor ‘Epic Procession Of Souls’ sounded very old school and I was very curious if the new album would be very different. This album took a bit longer because Ronnie Bergerstahl had a heart attack last December. Fortunately, Ronnie recovered and is again healthy enough to be part of the band. It praises the band that they put things on a hold and waited for him to be a part of it again.
After an intro, the first track immediately has a sound we can expect from Grave. The crunchy grained guitar sound in combination with the groove is a feast for the ears. There are more doom parts on the album as well. “Flesh Before My Eyes” for instance is a rather fast track with slower pieces and the riffs could have been from a band like Asphyx also. “Plain Pine Box” is a mid-tempo groove track with certain riffs that remind of Celtic Frost. It can’t be a coincidence that one of the songs is called “Grotesque Glory” which is a phrase in the lyrics of the song “Circle of Tyrants”. In general, the album has more slower pieces than before, but that surely isn’t a problem at all. The album was recorded in Lindgren’s own studio called Soulless, so the band had no studio deadline, which also explains why it wasn’t a financial problem to postpone the recordings for a while. “The Omnious “They”” is a real mid-tempo old school sounding Grave song with a nice groove and devastating riffs. It will be nothing new when I say that the vocals of Ola are still about the same and recognizable like they should be. I could not snatch the band on recording a minor song. Perhaps some will have the idea that there are a bit too many slower parts, but I think it only is a surplus and leads to more variety. Closing track “Grotesque Glory” is an almost ten minutes track with a slow start, speeding up half way through.
With this new album, the band has a fine piece of material to plunder the European clubs and halls again this winter and spring. I did hear that there perhaps will be a tour with Malevolent Creation, a fine combination you certainly can’t miss.
01. Intro/Mass Grave Mass
02. Flesh Before My Eyes
3. Plain Pine Box
04. Out Of Respect For the Dead
05. The Omnious ‘They”
06. Redeemed Through Hate
08. Trail Of Ungodly Trades
09. Grotesque Glory
Playing time: 48:00
Release date: 16 October, 2015
Label: Century Media Records