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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews


Back From the Grave

Review by Mike Korn

Here is proof positive that the dead can return. Swedish death metal champions Grave were supposedly buried back in 1996 but apparently the internment was a bit premature, as their rotting corpse has risen here in the new millenium.

Their aptly titled comeback brings us back to the early days of the death metal movement, when morbid atmosphere and bulldozing power was much more important than technical wizardry or insane speed. The nine proper tracks here barely move past half speed but carry an immense amount of impact. Listening to "Back From the Grave" is like getting slowly crushed by a tank inch by inch. Lead guitar solos are mostly squalling compendiums of feedback and Ola Lindgren's vocals are sick, sick, sick! They are some of the most effective death vocals in the business.

Anybody looking for challenging, avant-garde riffing or squeaky clean guitar tones can take a hike. But for those evil souls thirsting for Swedish death metal done the classic way, the return of Grave is indeed a cause for dark celebration! 

Note: If you get the limited edition of this CD, you'll also get a bonus CD containing all 3 of Grave's early demos, "Sick Disgust Eternal", "Sexual Mutilation" and "Anatomia Corporis Humani". Fun for all the family, it's a good bonus for those longing for the early days of Swedish death metal.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
After some brief and inconsequential sound effects, the album explodes into being with one of the most crushing and morbid ditties I have heard in a long time. It's hard to express how evil the stalking, deliberate riffs of this song sound. Lindgren's vocals are gruesomely effective as they relate cheerful lyrics like "Rise from Your Tombs/Into the night/As black as your hearts/And now you're back/Back from the Grave/You Won't be Saved". It's simply one of the best death metal tracks of the last few years.
Behold the Flames
This isn't too far off from "Rise". The song is so simple yet so memorable with its constant pounding. It's another mid-paced bone-crusher.
Dead Is Better
There's a bit of a rock and roll feel to this number, somewhat in the line of fellow Swedes Entombed but more ferociously delivered. The chorus is especially nasty and vile. "Hell is only a word...reality is much, much worse."
This starts out in an average fashion but it gradually builds into quite a powerful number. It sports a very doomy feel and there's some killer chugging riffing after the chorus that surfaces again at the end of the song to great effect.
No Regrets
A "death n' roll" number that's a bit too much on the simple side. The track is almost cheerful in an evil kind of way.
The band sounds a lot like they did on their "Soulless" album here. The pace is a bit quicker and some of the riffing reminds me of Slayer. It's a charming tale of a loony trying to preserve his dead girlfriend's life with chemicals.
Things are starting to sound a little samey by the time this one rolls in. It's full of those morbid mid-paced hooks that typify the album. This is not bad but pretty average.
I didn't think this was a standout track either, but the tempo is faster, giving the album a welcome injection of speed and energy. The lyrics are nasty: "You drink the blood of Christ/I drink the blood of you/ I would not have it any other way."
Thorn To Pieces
Satan help me, are those synthesizers I hear in this track? Yes, you can indeed hear electronic accompaniment, and I don't like it much. The tune follows the same lumbering pattern as most of the previous tracks. Grave does it well, but it wouldn't have hurt to put an all-out thrasher or a slightly more complex tune on the CD to mix things up a bit.
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