Grave - _Back From the Grave_
(Century Media, 2002)
by: Matthias Noll (
_Back From the Grave_, the title of Grave's reunion album, is a bit misleading because the Swedes do not re-appear with the pure Swedish '90s death metal of their debut _Into the Grave_. Maybe _Soulful_ would have been a better indicator how the reborn Grave sound, because this new album is a continuation of 1994's _Soulless_. This means that _BFtG_ is grooving and pulverizing slow-to-mid-tempo death metal which has a lot more to do with Bolt Thrower or _Heartwork_-era Carcass than early Entombed. The death metal tag is even a bit shaky because Ola Lindgren's vocals are rather distorted shouts than textbook death metal grunts. Although Grave haven been successful with their attempt to write some totally heavy and mighty riffs, this album could definitely need some more variation and more stand-out tracks. Three or four songs into the album the impact of _BFtG_ wears off every time I listen to it. The material and pace is just too similar. The slightly more up-tempo "Resurrection" manages to re-establish a certain momentum and could easily be the best track on _BFtG_ if not for some blatant borrowing from Carcass' "Buried Dreams", the incredibly heavy opening track from _Heartwork_. The Skogsberg-production of _BFtG_ sounds up-to-date and is the heaviest work I've heard coming out of Sunlight Studio for quite some time, and I'm sure everybody who loves _Soulless_ is going to be happy with this new Grave album. But although Grave are a million times better and heavier than bands like the equally groovy but utterly crappy Six Feet Under, their career went down the drain despite or maybe because of albums like _Soulless_, and I can see Grave fizzle out and disappear once again soon. What finally makes this album a worthy purchase is the fact that it comes as a double CD edition with Grave's three important 1988/1989 demos in all their splendour. The rest is unfortunately just a 7 in my book.
(article published 5/29/2003)
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