Reviewed: August 2006
Released: 2006, Century Media Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Along with Unleashed, Dismember and Entombed, Grave make up The Four Horsemen of Old-School Swedish Death Metal. Highly influential in their overall sound, subject matter and delivery, these bands are pillars of heavy metal and absolutely essential listening. AS RAPTURE COMES is album number three in the second chapter of Grave’s career after taking a six-year recording break in 1996. Like its predecessor, 2004’s FIENDISH REGRESSION, the band stays firmly on course with Ola Lindgren’s throat-shredding growls along with his and Jonas Torndal’s fat, chugging, downtuned riffs. The thunderous blastbeats of Pelle Ekegren and low rumblings of bassist Fredrik Isaksson contribute to a groove-laden, doom-y sashay through the blood-drenched halls of Hades. Self-produced at the band’s Studio Soulless and enlisting Peter Tagtgren to handle the mix, the expected rancor and muddiness that populated the early Swedish death/Sunlight Studio sound once again permeates everything on AS THE RAPTURE COMES creating a bludgeoning slice of death metal done up right by pioneers of the genre.
Lindgren’s chunky riffs open “Burn” while the throttling drums of Ekegren plod into a death metal breakdown near the 4:30 mark that is so ominously low, Satan himself must be banging on his ceiling. A diving solo (Lindgren is a renowned Slayer die-hard and the influence of Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman on his playing is immeasurable) and feedback conclusion will have the guitar fans smiling but like most of Grave’s material, it is all about that gorgeously-downtuned, thunderous riff. One listen to the groove of “Through Eternity” and the shuffle of the Alice In Chains cover””“Them Bones”””and the riffs will be instantly etched into memory. On the heavier side, “By Demons Bred” and “Living The Dead Behind” blaze along powered by Lindgren’s guttural roars and Ekegren’s blasting drums, the former sporting a ripping guitar solo and the latter slowing down to a dirge-like tempo. “Unholy Terror” and “Battle of Eden,” trademark Grave songs if there ever were ones, march to a double-bass infused groove and Lindgren’s speedy riffs are like a rusty chainsaw cutting through the metal landscape. The closing title track embodies all of the band’s styles, snaking between fast and sludgy but never getting boring.
AS RAPTURE COMES holds no surprises and offers no gimmicks. Grave is one of those bands that can always warrant a blind purchase. Put simply, you know what you’re going to get and the band always delivers. A generous mix of groove and brutality, speed and slower tempos, unrelenting, brutal vocals, thick, meaty guitars, viscous bass lines and pounding drums add up to death metal at its purest and after eight albums, Grave doesn’t disappoint.
KILLER KUTS: “Burn,” “Through Eternity,” “By Demons Bred,” “Living The Dead Behind,” “Unholy Terror”
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