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Grave - Endless Procession Of Souls

Grave
Endless Procession Of Souls
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 23 August 2012, 1:32 PM

In a general view, after going back and forth with endless contemplations regarding this new release named “Endless Procession Of Souls”, I invoke that the one of the early 90s Swedish Death Metal emblems, GRAVE, came one step closer to their older selves than in the past. Although I still couldn’t experience the same hellish fire that I felt upon their classic burial mound of “Into The Grave” traced back to 1991 or the 1993’s EP, “Here I Die Satisfied”, this new album satisfied my hunger for pure old school Death Metal. After twists and turns with “Endless Procession Of Souls”, I could sense and unearth the early rage and classic oriented inputs of Death Metal that made the Swedish scene so powerful and startlingly malevolent. Furthermore, after six years out of Century Media to the French clutches of Regain Records, GRAVE are officially back with Century Media and “Endless Procession Of Souls” is the first release through this giant label six years after the “As Rapture Comes" album. This here release, even not one of the best of the band’s discography in my personal bill, still proves that the revered GRAVE even now have something to provide the hordes of old school first wave of Swedish Death Metal fans, especially constant followers of other early Swedish bands such as UNLEASHED, DISMEMBER, ENTOMBED and the late CARNAGE.

Throughout “Endless Procession Of Souls” I was able to discern that there is a kind of “Back To School” reaction prowling among the tracks. It began with the chosen sound production pattern that reminded me of earlier Death Metal productions from Europe, especially with all the crunchiness and the vice dirges swarming around akin to flies on a rotting corpse, but that is the beauty about this genre. Then it continued with a refining of a traditional extreme musical direction that though having a fair share of grooves, but nothing like the modern Death Metal approach that seemingly tended to travel further into numerous directions unlike the rather strict lines of the past. The riffages on this album, I found those to be rather fundamental and highly straightforward, resembling untamed animals rampaging in a cage. Several of the riffing, along with the tiny bits of solo offerings within the tracks, kept me thinking of SLAYER, especially after headbanging to several addictive riffing that caught my ears. Maybe it had something to do with the sound signatures; also I felt that GRAVE sounded a tad bit thrashier than used to. Well, it didn’t both me, on the contrary it even helped. However, I am afraid that aside from a few senseless lead guitar yowls, and maybe an actual singular solo here and there, I couldn’t find anything interesting on their lead fretwork, it sounded rather empty and sometimes even as if it was forced upon. At least the vocal outline of the constant leader of the band, Ola Lindgren, remained the same as always with amazing mid growls and definitive grunts. I was also amazed by the great rhythms of Ronnie Bergerstål that even if his playing wasn’t too much demanding, he made a good showcase of his will power to spice things up.

My first appreciation of this release came with “Encountering The Divine” that served as an absolute evocative of the band’s legendary history. Its series of great riffing along spiking lead guitar shrieks that didn’t strike me as that special but were sufficient. I think that it is probably one of the most brutal and heavy amid the tracks within this release as haunting evil scours the tormented lands of the dead. The journey continued with “Plague of Nations” that was a bit groovier than the previous number, yet it has that slow tempo section that reminded me of the early DEATH albums, with a slight recurring sense, right before a destructive solo that gave me the impression that it might actually was written right there in the recording studio. “Epos” finished this album’s story with a malignant epic filled with early Doom / Death Metal collaborations in the vein of ASPHYX with a warrior like orientation of UNLEASHED. Without a doubt that GRAVE is an amazing band and in general it has been somewhat consistent over the years, and “Endless Procession Of Souls” is a great step into something bigger that I believe would be felt on their next release.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Dystopia
2. Amongst Marble and the Dead
3. Disembodied Steps
4. Flesh Epistle
5. Passion of the Weak
6. Winds of Chains
7. Encountering the Divine
8. Perimortem
9. Plague of Nations
10. Epos 
Lineup:
Ola Lindgren– Guitars / Vocals
Ronnie Bergerstål- Drums
Mika Lagrén- Guitars
Tobias Cristiansson- Bass
Record Label: Century Media
     


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