Released: 2015, Century Media
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Reviewing a new Grave album is a double-edged sword. On the upside, you generally know what to expect; aside from some death n’ roll flirtations on HATING LIFE, the long running Swedes have rarely traveled too far outside of their OSDM comfort zone. On the flipside, well, pretty much the same issue. Particularly since around DOMINION VIII, Grave has released a fairly steady output of predictable, yet still serviceable, procession of old school Swedish death metal. Their latest, OUT OF RESPECT FOR THE DEAD, follows lockstep in that tradition - nothing stunning, but nothing glaringly offensive either.
For their latest outing, Grave has opted to trade speed in favor of a more mid-tempo, doom approach. The engines still roar loud enough, but the machine’s just rolling a little slower. Tracks like “Mass Grave Mass”, “Grotesque Glory” and “Redeemed Through Hate” all have enough spite and vitriol to raze your earholes with deadly, sonic goodness, but these kinds of moments are sporadic and fleeting. Too often the band charges out of the gate and quickly settles into a trudging slug, causing one track to mush into the next (and the next, and the next). Moments like “Plain Pine Box” and “Deified” have plenty of potential, but never feel like they even attempt to shift out of first gear. You end up with a lot of monotony sandwiched in between moments of greatness, making a start to finish listening session more of a chore than it ought to be.
While there are missed opportunities across OUT OF RESPECT FOR THE DEAD, it’s still pretty par for the course as far as recent Grave albums go. If you’re not a fan of the band or old school Swedish death metal in general, none of what you hear on this album is going to change your mind. But if you still party like it’s 1992, OUT OF RESPECT FOR THE DEAD might be a good distraction until the next Unleashed or Sinister record comes along.