Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Grave - 'Out of Respect For the Dead' (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 16/10/2015
Label: Century Media Records



…there are no surprises, but what you get is one of the best Swedish death metal bands playing some of the best Swedish death metal around. Really, that should be more then enough. Sure, some people will always just stick on “Like an Everflowing Stream” again and again, but they are missing out on some superb modern death, of which this album is right up there.

‘Out of Respect For the Dead’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

01. Intro / Mass Grave Mass
02. Flesh Before My Eyes
03. Plain Pine Box
04. Out Of Respect For The Dead
05. The Ominous “They”
06. Redeemed Through Hate
07. Deified
08. Trail Of Ungodly Trades
09. Grotesque Glory

CD 2 (only included in the ltd. CD box set)
01. Venial Sin *
02. Morbid Ascent *
03. Possessed (Satyricon) *
04. Epos (Risen From The Tomb Mix) *
05. Reality Of Life (New version) *
* (originally released 2013 on the “Morbid Ascent” EP)

Grave is:

Ola Lindgren | vocals, guitar
Ronnie Bergerståhl | drums
Tobias Cristiansson | bass
Mika Langrén | guitar

The Review:

Well, with Entombed now a farcical parody and Dismember gone to the great gig in the cemetery, Grave remain the oldest old schoolers in the world of Swedish death metal. The question is, what have they got left in the tank? Some death metal acts are consistent (Vader) some are up and down (Entombed) and some are consistently OK, but never really get to the heights they threaten to. I will leave you to your own opinion of Grave's career, but never let it be said that these Swedes are anything less than seminal in their chosen field. Since their timely reformation in 2002 they haven't put a foot wrong and simply continue to plough their furrow of death metal, now shorn of all death and roll elements that came in during the 90's.

So what have Grave given us this time around? It won't surprise you to learn that there is sinister atmosphere from the opening track; there is then a frenzy of thrashing old school death. It is all rough and ready drums, bassy undertow and the expected feral guitar sound. There are slower sections, as Grave have never been a band afraid to mix in doom elements, and of course lots of thrash tempos.

It would be completely misleading to suggest that this album is a progression or departure of any kind. This is high quality Swedish death metal, end of. The likes of ‘Flesh Before My Eyes’ could have appeared on any death metal album since 1990- and I say that as a very positive thing. ‘Plain Pine Box’ is classic death metal with a doom feel- the subject matter hits the nail on the head (no pun intended!) and shows the band are still true to the original blueprint. The title track is of similar high quality- lots of dragging doom to be found in there too.

As per with Grave, some tracks are faster, some slower, but all are crushing. Yes, there isn't much in the way of variety per se, but the overall effect is very convincing. ‘The Ominous “They” is another head nodding delight. Consistency is a key ingredient with this record- most songs (barring the monster closer) are somewhere around the four or five minute mark. ‘Redeemed Through Hate’ is a Rager, for sure, keeping the pedal to the metal effectively and showcasing the excellent trait of Swe-death that involves pacey thrash rhythms without ever slipping over into the endless blasting so beloved of their American counterparts.

‘Deified’ is a superb track; all dramatic riffs and blinding hatred. Fantastic stuff. With only two tracks to go, the album begins its descent towards conclusion. Don't feel short changed, though. ‘Trail of Ungodly Trades’ is suitably feral, while the majesty of ‘Grotesque Glory’ ensures that at nine and a half minutes plus, the band gets to play low and slow and shift through the gears only towards the end, offering up a wholly satisfying platter of death metal delight.

As noted earlier, there are no surprises, but what you get is one of the best Swedish death metal bands playing some of the best Swedish death metal around. Really, that should be more then enough. Sure, some people will always just stick on “Like an Everflowing Stream” again and again, but they are missing out on some superb modern death, of which this album is right up there.


‘Out of Respect For the Dead’ is available here

FFO: Dismember, Entombed, Bolt Thrower, Asphyx

Band info: facebook |twitter

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