without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
I was a bit doubtful respect this Grave album after having listened, and not enjoyed, the preceding “Soulless”: a concentrate of boredom and groove influences. Reading the reviews I was convinced I'd find a better full length and I must admit that is partially true…for sure is more compact. The groove influences, unfortunately, are yet stuck in the way of playing with lots of mid paced sections and so on… but, I don’t know, maybe the production exalts the most brutal group’s side and I’m thankful for this.
Actually, I believe the “Soulless” production was too weak for a death metal album, also compared to the blasting ones in their first two works. Here, instead, everything sounds far more primordial. The guitars sound is always arid and essential, along with a powerful drum sound and painful vocals on the borderline between screams (not shrieks) and growls. “Worth The Wait” features an up tempo part in the middle while the beginning to the heavy, slow “Restrained” smells of groove as never before.
Let’s take a song like “Winternight”: it would have been a boring crap in “Soulless”, with that production, but here it is a bit better without being exceptional at all, but the group is more incisive. If you can forget “Two Of Me” song or some hyper groove parts in “Beauty Within” is better to enjoy a bit the more classical death metal tracks like “Sorrowfilled Moon” or “Harvest Day”. Anyway, every track is full of those groove elements I hate so much in Grave albums after 1992 and this is an irritating thing to me.
The mid paced parts are far too long and annoying…fortunately the length is short but it’s like a semi-Odyssey to me (the real Odyssey was Soulless). Oh, come on…you cannot put out a song like “Redress”: it’s a total waste of time except for the second session of up tempo in this entire album. How can you put just TWO and I mean really TWO up tempos parts in a 32 minute Swedish death metal album? You are definitely history…there’s nothing worth hearing. The production is not enough to save this album.
Before I bought this album I was already a pretty big Grave fan, already owning "Soulless" and "You'll Never See", easily their 2 best albums in my opinion. Anyway, the first thing I noticed on this album is that the production quality was similar to their earlier albums (lower quality) rather than their last album "Soulless" which was very well produced. And also the vocals were . . . different.
The songs on this album are solid, probably some of the best Grave have written during their career, especially "Worth The Wait" being one of the best. There is nothing really different on this album that's different from typical Grave stuff, but the songs on here do the Sweedish Death Metal scene justice.
As for the instruments, everything is pretty much in order as it should be, the guitars are on top form along with the bass, churning out quality death metal riffs ranging from the thrash side of death to the groove side of it with nice leads over the top at some parts too. The drums don't particularly stand out but they get the job done well and good.
Now the vocals, well for this album, this is probably one of Grave lowest points, and also the only reason this album didn't get over 90. I knew Ola had to stand up to vocal duties now that Sandstrom left but I thought anyone could do a decent attempt at death metal vocals in the studio. One of my favorite aspects of Grave were the vocals, and this album does not live up to them. The vocals are not bad in any way but they're just not refined enough in my opinion. I'm glad that Ola realized that after this album and decided to change back to the style on "Soulless".
My overall opinion of this album: get "Soulless" and "You'll Never See" before this one as they are much better produced and show Grave in better form, this album is really only one for the fans.
I purchased this album along with Soulless (both being on the same album). I had heard Grave on several of Century Media's VA compilations and decided to give this band a chance. I'm not too entirely disappointed, but Grave is not the pennacle of death metal. They're pretty good, but not the best.
For fans of Grave that devolt themselves to following the entire career of Grave one of the first things you'll notice is that Hating Life has seemingly worse production than "Soulless". The hugest factor for this could be that only two members recorded this album. Instead of getting a nice low end death metal production you get something that's more akin to blackmetal production.
Although the production is weaker, the song writing and music is much stronger than that of "Soulless". One of the quams I had with "Soulless" is that the album was getting more and more repetitive. Although "Hating Life" isn't a true masterpiece the band actually manages to write differant music for all of the songs. The guitars on this album are decent, there are plenty of sliding scale solos played, and other interesting guitar riffs thrown all around the album, but after awhile it does get a bit stale.
Sadly though the drums, vocals, and bass take a backseat to the guitars due to the production. The vocals are not as low and evil sounding as they were on "Soulless" and almost began to sound Melo-deathish. The bass provides the lowend, but without better production it just slips into the background partially unnoticed. The drumming on this album is haphazard, and sounds like your typical death metal drumming. There's alot of double bass drumming going on, but it's nothing spectacular.
The album is still enjoyable though, but you might want to see if you can find this for a cheap price.
While I am a Grave fan, no make that a Grave fanatic, this is by far the least enjoyable album I have of theirs. No, make that Extremely Rotten Live. but still, this one is not so good.
The one aspect that really sinks this one for me is the vocals. In fact, this could sit right alongside "Back Into the Grave" if they had just gone with the more distorted, tinny, evil sounding vox. But instead you are tormented by more mid - range, raspy, shouted singing, which has always been a style that I disliked.
The songs themselves seem to lack a little bit of what makes Grave so great - the trademark midpaced death groove. While you hear it here and there (Sorrowfilled Moon being a fine example), the rest of the songs lack distinction and passion, and that headbangingly awesome Grave guitar work. The drums are also flat, passionless. "Two of Me" is a good one, but again, this album is about 7 tunes too long. The last little outtro is kinda fun to listen to as well, some acoustic guitar with someone saying something that sounds whimsical in Swedish. But overall, a lack of pure Graveness (and hey, what the hell is up with the lyrics, where did SATAN go?) makes this very forgettable.