Grave - _Fiendish Regression_
(Century Media, 2004)
by: James Montague (
Grooves, chunky power chords, slow slam/mosh bridges, lyrics about "going my own way". If they hadn't already earned their death metal stripes with _Into the Grave_ and _You'll Never See..._, Grave could find themselves flirting with the nu-metal tag. Certainly, _Fiendish Regression_ sounds like it was designed to get the pits heaving; unfortunately it leaves little of interest for us poseurs who sit at home and listen to music while playing Internet Scrabble.This is pretty generic, modern, mid-paced Swedish death metal without a hint of malice or evil atmosphere, despite the best efforts of the cover artist (eviscerated Christ figure; lots of naked, tortured souls writhing in morbid... uh, whatever). Several songs start out with energetic riffs or the occasional burst of blastbeats, but all of them revert to tedious Sabbath-y passages of elongated guitar distortion -- a technique which worked wonders during Autopsy's _Mental Funeral_ but which just looks hamfisted in this case. The drumming is mostly pedestrian, and the vocals are mostly yelled in a patently uninteresting fashion. Without demonic pitbull growls and manic skinsmanship, what does death metal have to offer? Not a lot, it seems.Although Century Media will hype up the "brutality" of this CD and its "surprising bursts of speed" (I'd say "surprising signs of life in an otherwise comatose affair"), I can assure you that _Fiendish Regression_ delivers on neither count. It delivers the occasional catchy groove, but simply fails to display any of its alleged old-school spirit, and fails to elicit any response from this listener. Recommended only to those who wear baseball caps indoors and want to pump some tunes on the way to the arcade.
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