Grave – Endless Procession of Souls

Grave
Endless Procession of Souls
Released: August 27th 2012
Death Metal
Released via Century Media Records

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I would describe Grave as the dark horse of the original Swedish Death Metal scene. Although never achieving the level of prestige attained by genre favourites Entombed and Dismember, they, like their contemporaries Unleashed have been one of the most consistent and reliable groups in their native scene. This may not be a coincidence. Whilst Dismember sadly decided to call it a day recently, and Entombed changed their style completely to a Punk/Death ‘n’ Roll combination (not necessarily a bad thing), Grave kept chugging along producing more or less the same Old School Death Metal they had been making since their formation. After a turbulent middle period defined by several somewhat mediocre releases, Grave struck back with their 2010 release Burial Ground. Now, the band have returned with Endless Procession of Souls, featuring similar production values as well as similar a similar visual style and colour scheme on the album cover as its recent predecessor. It seems like the old vanguard are on a roll again, one that I hope continues well into this decade, and even beyond.

The album kicks off with the doomy instrumental intro “Dystopia”. I’m not usually one for intros unless they are especially good, but fortunately this one does its job and the band promptly moves into a blistering opening with “Amongst The Marble and the Dead”. The first impression I feel here is that the album achieves a similar ferocity to modern Death Metal bands, with a similar crisp and clinical production and clarity of instrumentation that can only be achieved with modern music producing technology. However this is not to say that the band have sacrificed their old school, deep and muddy sound, and fortunately the guitar tone is as crushing as ever, if not more so. It’s polished, but not to the point of sterility. In fact, this is almost what I would call the essential meeting of production sounds between the old school and the new wave in the genre. Death Metal, of all genres in the Metal world is also perhaps the guiltiest of sounding generic, partially due to the sheer volume of bands attempting its macabre style over the years – this band however, as fans would rightly expect, is a step above the competition, and are easily capable of writing some satisfyingly crunchy riffs and morbid lyrics.

There really isn’t all that much else left to say about this release. It’s more or less classic Grave song writing that should please long term fans. If you’re the kind of person that finds early Death Metal boring, then perhaps this album will feel like it drags sometimes across the 10 tracks and 45 minute run time, but that’s only because the band are not afraid to slow it down and add a much needed ebb and flow to the heaviness. Modern blast beat obsessed Br00tal bands could learn a thing or two. The musical style here moves all across the basic spectrum of Death Metal, featuring thrashy face-rippers like the album opener “Amongst The Marble and The Dead” and the almost pure thrash “Perimortem”; as well as thick, sludgy Doom-like riffs that add to the dark atmosphere. The album is fairly solid throughout but some of my own favourite tracks include “Amongst The Marble and The Dead”, “Winds Of Chains”, “Perimortem” and the Epic finale “Epos”. The spiritual successor to Burial Ground, Endless Procession of Souls is a very capable record from a stalwart band that deserves every success that comes their way.

4.4/5

By Paul Gibbins

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: