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Fiendish Regression
September 2004
Released: 2004, Century Media
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

Grave has been one of the most influential death metal bands on the Swedish metal scene ever since they released their debut album in 1991. The last full-length album was BACK FROM THE GRAVE that came in 2002. For this release the band consists of the original members Ola Lindgren and Jonas Torndal together with Fredrik Isaksson (Therion) and Pelle Ekegren.

For the first time the band has tried out a new studio, having previously recorded everything else in Sunlight Studio. Sunlight Studio is where all the legendary death metal bands from the early 90’s recorded their albums. To put some new perspective on things they went to Abyss Studio to record the new album. As producers the guys have chosen the founder of Abyss, Peter Tägtgren, and his brother Tommy. As always the brothers have done an excellent job. It’s the first time I’ve seen the brothers working together on a production. The album sounds heavy, aggressive and brutal just like Swedish death metal should sound. Grave have managed to combine their 90’s sound with a somewhat updated sound for the 21st century.

Grave plays death metal with a lot of tempo changes. They play both grinding and slower parts throughout their songs and sometimes they almost border on being a bit melodic. Grave also borders on atmospheric death metal in the sense that they build up different moods and settings that they tear down and build up again. In other words, Grave delivers some really well played death metal. They play really strong Swedish death metal with chewing guitars and rattling double bass pedals.

This is Grave’s sixth album and for first three albums they had Jörgen Sandström on vocals before he left for handling the bass in Entombed. On FIENDISH REGRESSION there are nine tracks but I don’t know who has written the music and lyrics or when the album was recorded. The cover looks as brutal as the music sounds, as it was done by Jacek Wisnieswki from Poland who also made covers for Marduk, Malevolent Creation and Vader, among others.

Grave feels as strong and vital as they did in the beginning and it’s fun to hear a band that was part of the death metal scene when it exploded in the early 90’s. Now it’s full European touring activities scheduled this fall for Grave, but their fans already got the opportunity to hear some new material at Germany’s Party San Festival in August this year. I’ve got nothing to complain about on this album and it’s fun that many of the old classical Swedish death metal acts still live up to their reputation at being the best at what they do.

Another of the influential death metal bands from the 90’s are Unleashed who also released an album not too long ago this year and it’s nice to see that the old Swedish death metal bands are still alive and still have a big fan base. The first copies of FIENDISH REGRESSION are going to have a limited slipcase packaging with two bonus tracks. If I have to pick some favorite songs it would be “Last Journey”, “Reborn”, “Breeder”; “Trial By Fire”; “Out of the Light” and “Bloodfeast”. The campaign for world domination is about to begin again for the legendary Grave.

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