Grave - _As Rapture Comes_
(Century Media, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (
If you were lucky enough to catch them on the Domination tour that cast its unsightly shadow across Europe earlier this year, you'd have to have been blind drunk not to notice that something was different about the Swedish outfit. Unlike on the lacklustre _Fiendish Regression_, which saw the light of day in 2004, the band was storming through material both old and new with a freshly energized sense of pugnacity that at times even made their touring partners in Cryptopsy seem a little reticent by comparison.With every indication that album number eight could be an absolute stormer therefore, it's encouraging to find the quartet's momentum unwavering on _As Rapture Comes_. While tracks like "Burn" and "Leaving the Dead Behind" maintain all of the band's erstwhile trademarks (bass lines that burrow straight down to the earth's core, mercilessly hammering drums and, of course, the classic European death metal guitar sound) it's very soon apparent that Grave have given their vintage formula a long overdue dusting off, and brought it kicking and screaming into a time that more closely resembles the twenty-first century. The new material betrays a more varied, aggressive and at times even catchier approach, with "Unholy Terror" being possibly the most violent addition to the band's discography to date. A surprise cover even rears its head in the form of Alice in Chains' virtually unrecognisable "Them Bones".Whether this is enough to turn Grave into one of the year's indispensable acts is another matter altogether though, but you'd imagine that anyone who got all tingly while listening to the new Dismember will be creaming their shorts for this one.
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