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Grave's debut was a milestone of Swedish death metal, but "You'll Never See" could not fully convince. It was therefore interesting to see whether the band would be able to regain its compositional quality or not. To be honest, their new songs did not give rise to a clear and unified picture.
The downer of the EP was "I Need You", unfortunately one of the two brand new pieces. Already this title boggled my mind. I was used to song names like "Premature Autopsy" or "Skin Her Alive", nonsensical, but somehow fitting in a very crude way. Yet the title was, of course, not the main problem and "I Need You" was anything else but a love song. Nonetheless, this lame, slow-moving product from the second hand market failed to offer everything which is needed to form a strong (death) metal song. Neither gripping riffs nor high velocity rhythms appeared, any form of dynamism was absent and surprising twists and turns did not show up as well. The title track itself also did not put the focus on high speed, but its creaking main riff developed a subliminal force. Without question, this track left a better impression. However, the best songs of the EP were yet to come.
Older tracks like "Black Dawn" and "Tremendous Pain" showed the abysmal facet of death metal in a much more impressive way than the brand new compositions. The abrasive riffing of "Black Dawn" built the fundament of a precise high speed killer with a memorable chorus. Too bad that the sound of this number did not meet the legitimate expectations, although it was recorded during the same session as the new tracks. Generally speaking, the production of the songs was acceptable, no more, no less. Under these circumstances, it came as no surprise that early (and surprisingly powerful) recordings of "Day of Mourning" and "Inhuman" kept the EP above water. Yet these tracks were already known from their great debut. They therefore did not add an enormous value to this output. Nevertheless, their maliciousness and combativeness mirrored the best side of the Swedish squadron.
Everybody who does not possess "...and Here I Die... Satisfied" can relax. It is a solid EP that reflects the spirit of the early nineties, but it does not impress with any kind of outstanding features. The growling, the leads, the tempo changes - nothing offers an exceptional feature. If you want to die satisfied, listen to their debut before you commit suicide - but I hope, you have better things to do.
This EP is my first experience with Grave, and I was pretty intrigued when I first popped it into my cd player for a listen. Pure old school death metal plain and simple. Maybe not as fast as a lot of other death metal bands, but with all the catchy hooks you could ever want.
Being over twenty minutes, ‘..And Here I Die… Satisfied’ plays out more like a full length and less like an EP. The songs follow a pretty basic song structure overall but are varied enough to keep you interested throughout. Also everything seems to end appropriately. Nothing feels drawn out just to extend the song length, like some other bands more recent releases*cough*Vital Remains*cough,* and nothing feels cut short just the same.
The overall style of the music is very much that of early Obituary combined with the tone of early era Entombed. Mid-paced, catchy, and energetic, every song stomps along for a few minutes, gets its point across, and ends. Very simplistic really. This is what Six Feet Under could have been if Chris Barnes had dropped the bong and actually started giving a damn about the shit he attached his name to.
The production here is very solid for a release of it’s time. It has a raw in-your-face attitude without being blurry or washed out. It is mixed quite well also, no one instrument is drowned out by another (i.e., you can hear the bass even when the guitars are playing). The instrumentation here isn’t anything special, but it’s not like they suck or anything. I do, however, hear the odd fuck up in the bass from time-to-time, most notably in the bass line early on in “Day of Mourning.” The guitar solos are solid, chaotic, bursts that are peppered throughout the album much like on Morbid Angel’s ‘Altars…’, though not as long.
Overall, this album is a recommended listen to fans of Obituary and early Entombed, and maybe fans of Six Feet Under’s ‘Haunted.’
Grave, one of the best old school Swedish death metal bands is here on one of their finest displays of what old death metal should be about, keeping it simple. Some bands like cannibal corpse and necrophagist experiment with weird time signatures and obscure scales but basic death metal in my mind is best kept basic. Who needs scales being swept at 1000 miles an hour when you can have a good head banging beat with simple cool basic riff and vocals about satanism/mutilation/suffering/death being screamed at low pitches over it?
Yes, death metal in it's simplist can also be it's most powerful and grave here demonstrates that statement very well. If you like your death metal like I do (simple yet catchy with enough heaviness to head bang over it) than I suggest picking this up or any other grave release up to and including soulless.