Released: 2008, Regain Records
Editors Note: Metal-Rules.com was founded in 1995 as a forward thinking site. Our goal is, and always has been, to support Real Metal. The decision was made that very rarely do we ever go back and review an album from before 1995. Does the world really need another CD review of Master Of Puppets, Powerslave or Screaming For Vengeance? We don’t think so. We have always supported what is happening now.
Starting in January, 2014, as we head towards the 20th Anniversary of Metal-Rules.com, we are looking back and filling in a few gaps in the review database. We want to complete the post-1995 review catalogue of some of the bands that we have supported since 1995, when very few, if any websites were supporting real Metal. It’s fun to go back and revisit some of these albums that we did not review when they were first released. Enjoy!
I think Grave has consistently been the darkest and heaviest of the Big Four of Swedish Death Metal, moreso than Dismember, Entombed and Unleashed. After spending their entire career (7 albums) on the Century Media label, the band signed to Regain Records for a couple of albums. Grave returned like clockwork with an album every two years since their comeback album, RETURN FROM THE GRAVE. This is album number 8, with the odd title of DOMINION VIII. We all know it is the bands eighth album, why add the roman numerals on? Is it supposed to mean dominionate? That’s not even a word. It just doesn’t make sense.
The flirtation with a slower death ‘n’ roll sound is now years in the past, the band into the third album of their comeback, and it is a pretty relentless platter of old-school Swedish Death. The CD itself is a blurry and dark presentation, with an odd album cover depicting a crucifixion with a very strange perspective that is unsettling and slightly askew. I've seen other pressing with a far lighter colour scheme with more red. Lyrically Grave remains very dark, and staunchly anti-Christian or perhaps more specifically anti-religion.
Band founder, Ola shuffled the lineup again as he stripped Grave down to a trio, dropping drummer Pelle Ekegren in favour of Ronnie Bergerstahl and ousting bassist Jonas (for the second time!) and recruiting Fredrik Isaksson. Grave has always been Lindgren’s band in terms of song-writing and guitar playing but the new drummer Bergerstahl co-writes quit a bit of the new material on the album. Highlights for me are a couple of the faster songs, ‘Deathstorm’ and the magnificently ripping cut called ‘Bloodpath’ with a shredding solo. Ola’s quintessential vocal delivery is still as fierce as ever although his voice seems mixed a little farther back on this album.
Relentless, punishing, crushing… there are only so many cliché type adjectives one can use to describe a straight-up death Metal album and all of those words work well to describe DOMINION VIII. The wall of noise style of Grave is the reason why they are one of the more respected, uncompromising (and perhaps least appreciated) of that late 80’s early 90’s Swedish sound.