A band such as this hardly needs an introduction but I guess not all people who visit “The Metal Observer” are old geeks like me so I’ll write one nonetheless. GRAVE was among the first Swedish Death Metal bands and helped form the sound of this very genre, along with ENTOMBED, DISMEMBER and UNLEASHED that is. In my opinion they peaked with “Soulless” but the records prior to that release are considered to be classic by some and those some thinks that GRAVE peaked before “Soulless”. What we all agree to is that “Hating Life” is their weakest effort. On the back of the promo it’s written that GRAVE never swayed from their roots, a statement that isn’t entirely true. “Hating Life” is the reason for that statement being a bit of a lie. I don’t know what to call the style of that album but it’s not Death Metal the way GRAVE is known for playing it. After “Hating Life” GRAVE had a six years hiatus - if you rule out “Extremely Rotten Live” that is – and was considered dead by most. We were all wrong.
Wow, one of the lengthiest intro’s I’ve written.
Since last time I heard GRAVE, “Hating Life”, the band has certainly improved. I don’t know anything about the quality of the records released in between “Hating Life” and “As Rapture Comes” but I’ve read some positive reviews. On “As Rapture Comes” there is no denying that GRAVE are back to what they do best; Death Metal. In some of my reviews I’ve recommended GRAVE for those who hate blasts, “As Rapture Comes” changes that. Well, not entirely of course. Their old record still hasn’t any blasts. Before you go thinking that GRAVE has turned into a BEHEMOTH or VADER clone I would like to stress that the blasts are merely a cosmetic change. Most of the music is still blast free. The emphasis is still on groovy mid tempo Death Metal.
For being a band closing in on 20 years of existence they sound remarkably fresh. It doesn’t sound like they are just going through the motion so to say. GRAVE is far from being my favourite Death Metal band but sounding this good and inspired after two decades impresses even bitter old me. Oh, how I will laugh at myself for claiming to be old at the age of 28 if I ever reach the age of rheumatism and lost bladder control.
While I find much enjoyment in “As Rapture Comes” I’m not completely won over. I still think they were better back in the days. It could be me being jaded and all of that but there is no “The Bullets Are Mine” on “As Rapture Comes”. “The Bullets Are Mine” is my all time favourite GRAVE song, found on the “Soulless” album in case you wondered. Quality wise it’s a steady ride of Death Metal, there are no surprises spare from the blast beats. And that will hardly be a surprise for those who weren’t familiar with the band in the first place. Production wise this albums sounds pretty damn good. Not far from how BLOODBATH sounded on “Nightmares Made Flesh”, though a bit more organic; at least a bit less digital. I have to admit that I’m not entirely sure what organic means in terms of music but I’m pretty sure I got it right.
Damn it, I forgot to mention the ALICE IN CHAINS cover. I lied a bit when I said there wasn’t any surprises spare from the blast beats. I’ve never listened to AIC apart from when others played it for me, a couple of times only. The only thing I know about the band is that their lead singer died because of excessive drug abuse. I have never heard the song in question but GRAVE plays it like it was one of their own songs, a little more Rock‘n Roll perhaps but definitively sounding like a GRAVE song. It's nice to see someone who covers anything other than the usual METALLICA, SLAYER or TESTAMENT song. Kudos.
Even though “As Rapture Comes” didn’t floor me I give the record a wholehearted recommendation. There aren’t many band sounding this good so far out in their career. METALLICA anyone?
(Online November 26, 2006)