GRAVE forever etched their name in the history books with their 1991 debut “Into The Grave”, a seminal album that helped define the Swedish Death Metal sound together with the early works of ENTOMBED and DISMEMBER. Problem is, they’ve been haunted by the shadow of said album ever since, with just about every subsequent album of theirs being compared to their immortal debut. Of course the press release is touting their new release as the band’s strongest and most diverse album in years, but truth is that “Endless Procession Of Souls” really is just another GRAVE album, i.e. a solid slab of chunky Death Metal but one that is ultimately indistinguishable from much of their back catalogue.
One has to give props to mainman Ola Lindgren who, even though he is now the sole remaining original member, has kept this ship running for years. His heart is definitely still in the right place and even if their latest album may not necessarily be a career highlight, it slots in quite nicely alongside “As Rapture Comes” and “Dominion VIII” as yet another solid latter-day GRAVE album. Things don’t kick off in the most convincing fashion though, as the pointless intro, “Amongst Marble And The Dead,” and “Disembodied Steps” trudge along a bit aimlessly before a fire is finally lit under the band’s ass with “Flesh Epistle”, which sees Ola and co. churn out some delicious CELTIC FROSTed grooves. “Passion Of The Weak” is also stellar - mid-paced but high on melody and aggression. “Perimortem” is perhaps the best thing on here, four-and-a-half minutes of Thrash-tinged Death Metal that comes at you like a runaway freight train.
So yeah – if it’s Death Metal you seek, it’s Death Metal you will get. It’s not necessarily the most earth-shattering kind, and we’ve heard this stuff countless times before, but it gets the job done. At least it comes off as infinitely more convincing than the fare they put out during the “Soulless”/”Hating Life” years, which is essentially all one could reasonably expect from a latter-day GRAVE album.
(Online August 9, 2012)