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Extremely Rotten, Extremely Fun! - 95%

foodified, December 10th, 2004

I remember when this came out. I went to the mall with a friend in order that we might each purchase some Death Metal cassettes so that we might find some diversion to our aimless, raging teenage angst. I picked up "Into the Grave." He bought Incubus "Beyond the Unknown." After listening to each album he declared, "damn man, you always pick out the good one." Well, he was right on one account (he should've recognized the genius of Incubus, though I'll hardly complain as I bought it from him on the cheap later that afternoon). Many years later and I still grovel at the altar of early Grave. While this album has a lot in common with the rest of the early Swedish scene, it's easy to see how their relative geographic isolation shaped them into something very much their own. The early members of Grave grew up on the island of Gotland, somewhere Southeast of mainland Sweden. It's probably through this distance, far from the fertile ground of Stockholm, that the band was able to forge an identity that was to be their calling card. The Sunlight Production of "Into the Grave" binded them to their compatriot contemporaries, but the focus of the music was centered on something much more straight forward, even by the standards of Stockholm, which were easily the most accessile of the era for Death Metal. Grave was going for the jugular, quick and simple. The riffs, while lacking any traditional melody, were highly memorable if only for their simplicity. The vocals were about as low as a person could go without utilizing some sort of 'cheating" technology. The drums were full and active with lots of fills and a sense of urgency - constant creativity within the rhythm, yet always pushing forward as if in dire need off reaching the end. It's almost as if you were laying on the ground while a series of monster trucks jumped 20 cars and then landed directly on your crotch, only you got a boner every time it happened. This stuff is heavy and brutal and gutteral and lots of other generic words that don't even do it justice. The bottom line is that Grave knew how to write a song, a primitive and simple song, but it was still damn catchy and fun. If only they had stuck to that formula*

*with the exception of "Soulless"