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To me the original, true Grave sound was the one of their first two albums. Going on, they embraced different influences with a predominant one: groove. Their following album were a mix of that influence with a slow death metal. If some groups are really good when they play mid paced, the power of a band like Grave stays in the fast tempos and not in innocent, boring mid sections.
After Hating Life, that showed a more incisive production but always with groove tempos, they decided to stop for awhile. Maybe they admitted to have released quite weak albums and their decided to return in 2002.
Well, the sounds here are far more powerful than Soulless album for example but as the last albums, Grave don’t want to go fast. They re-conquered partially a good sense of song writing and violence, being some riffs very vicious and heavy. “Rise” and “Behold The Flames” are not fast at all, but they features a very similar …You’ll Never See atmosphere and that is good. The riffs, as I said, are far heavier but they’ve got always some stopped chords parts that I cannot stand at all. The march at the beginning to “Dead Is Better” is great but it’s ruined by some filtrated vocals: another sign of modernism.
There are some good, long and odd lead guitars lines in some songs to make the whole atmosphere gloomier and that’s is good because for awhile you can focus your attention on those sounds, without paying attention to the mediocre rhythmic riffage behind. Yep, mediocre, because sometimes it’s not enough bad ass and doesn’t convince me. “No Regrets” and “Resurrection” in some parts, show that the band can always play faster, especially in the bass drum, but the following down tempos are a bit too monotonous.
The final “Thorn To Pieces” features good, obscure keyboards sounds to create a sort of hell atmosphere but the songs is just average or even mediocre, like the other ones. There are few things that you can save here: the vocals, the production, the attitude and few riffs. The rest is not to throw away, but simply to forget. I don’t know if six years helped Grave in a good way to come back but it seems that this is their “new” style we there’s nothing I can do to listen again to the “old” sonorities in the new Century.
I’ve seen a few reviews (in general; not necessarily on Metal-Archives only) complain about the songs in Back From The Grave being hard to tell apart, or that they’re boring, or anything else along those lines. I guess I can see where they’re coming from, but after listening to the songs a few times, you soon start to really notice the many hooks and catchy riffs. Another thing you notice is that virtually all the lyrics can be understood without reading the booklet, while Ola still sounds evil as fuck. Unfortunately, that isn’t very common in Death Metal, especially today.
I guess there are a few “modernisms” present, like some groovish riffs and vocal distortion (which the latter is only used once, and that’s in the beginning of Dead Is Better), but you know what? Grave pulls this off well. The groove riffs fit in well with the thrashy riffs (while also maintaining the atmosphere) and… I don’t recall hearing any tremolo riffs, but there might be some of those present as well. The riffs are also backed up by a really fucking great guitar tone, which is typical of the Sunlight production, but this just sounds somehow different in a way from some other Sunlight productions. It’s probably because the production overall is more polished than stuff like, for instance, You’ll Never See. Don’t take this to mean that it’s overproduced though, because it definitely isn’t. The drumming accommodates the guitar riffs well, especially in songs like Reciever; although in hindsight, a few more blastbeats couldn’t hurt. The guitar solos are good. I don’t know much about guitar, so I couldn’t say if they’re technically good, but I know I enjoy them, and they fit the songs well. The lyrics and vocals, like said before, are really catchy, and fun to growl at random points during the day.
For the most part, this is midpaced, which Grave manages to do without sounding plodding or boring. This album has a really intriguing atmosphere, like as if you were in a horror movie or something. Overall, I’d recommend this album, definitely. It may not be the best Death Metal album ever, but it sounds great, and it’s catchy as hell while still being undeniably Death fucking Metal! If you’re looking for some nice midpaced Stockholm-styled Death, then check this album out.
Oh yeah; one more thing. If you come across the version of the album that has the bonus demos CD, get it. Not only are the demos historically important, but there’re some great songs on them, along with others that would later be rerecorded, like for instance, Morbid Way To Die (which now starts with a high-pitched growl in place of the guitar solo), or Into The Grave (with its orgasmically good intro). I haven’t heard the album Into The Grave, but I sure hope they kept that intro for the title track, because it’s too great to stay buried in a demo tape.
Grave is without a doubt my favorite death metal band, so needless to say I will enjoy almost everything they do. That being said, "Extremely Rotten Live" was indeed extremely rotten, and "Hating Life" has not been listened to in a while either. Therefore, I was quite happy to have something else to listen to besides the old stuff when Grave released "Back From the Grave."
It is a pretty sweet album, after giving it a few listens. At first, it appears that every track is just about the same. After awhile, that appearance is confirmed, all the tracks do sound just about the same. But hey, its death metal, what do you expect? And if they all sound good, what's the problem?
The vocals on this album are back to what I expect from Grave, harsh, evil, disorted, blasphemous. I suspect that Ola may have some effects on his voice, but I'm not complaining compared to his somewhat whiny vocs on Hating Life. And the lyrical content is back to classic Grave as well, namely satan, blood, vampires, resurrection, satan, and did I mention demons and satan? The drums leave a bit to be desired, but get the job done. And Mr. Lindgren pumps out one grooving death riff after the next, the only problem is that you have to wait about a minute into the song to tell which riff and which song you're listening to. Yep, a little repetitive. But not bad.
I do a lot of skipping on this album, because there are some tracks (which sound just like the others) that I like, and some clones that seem to have too little effort put into them. But the highlights are "Below," which is completely tear your head off then kick you in the shins awesome. I can't help but bob my head, no matter where I am, when this one comes on the old CD player. The breakdown at the end is some of the best shit Grave has ever done, and for once the drumming is essential to the vicious, slow groove. "Receiver' is a good one too, funny lyrics about DEMON SEMEN. Reminds me of the ridiculous album art, like the band members popping up out of coffins and doing their best to look scary. "Behold the Flames" has a great chorus, and "Thorn to Pieces" (goofy Swedish misspelling # 9000) has a sweet intro from Event Horizon and a little distorted, crunchy riff typical of all old - skool Swedish death thrown in at the end to remind you why you love this music.
There is an extra disc full of incomprehensibly fast and poorly recorded stuff from the Grave of olden times, back when they were called Corpse I guess. It must have been a tumultuous time that caused them to change band names, I wonder if the name change also changed their musical direction? (Sarcasm). This is a little to shitty and fast for my taste, but it's nice to hear what they were up to back in the day.
So, buy it if you like Grave. Which I do. Buy it for "Below." Buy it because it is nice to have Grave back, and nice to see they didn't go all blues-rock on us.
I will admit that besides a few miscellaneous tracks here and there, this is my first real introduction to Grave. I feel that my reaction to this may have been different if I had been a long-time fan of the band, as many fans did not like this release.
Grave come from the school of bands like Unleashed, Edge of Sanity, Autopsy, Entombed (old), and the like, which means 100% old school death metal. I can clearly say they still play metal in this vein, yet they do show signs of an ageing band.
Musically it is mid-paced throughout, rarely venturing into faster territory or getting almost doom slow.Unfortunately, this can get a little boring after a few listens. I do like this album though, and this has peaked my interest in this band to buy all of their back catalogue.
My copy of this is form the first pressing of this release, so I was lucky enough to get the bonus CD which contains all 3 of thier demos on it. Let me tell you these demos are excellent! This is worth buying for this bonus disc alone! These demos will rot your brain!!