posted on 9/2004 By:
Old-skool death metal is so goddamn entertaining. Legendary death metallers Grave continue their epic catalogue with their latest sacrificial offering, Fiendish Regression. Now when I was an inexperienced and hotheaded youth, death metal bands were simply not my forte. After listening to boring bands like Morbid Angel, Deicide, and other so-called “technical” death metal bands, I was severly turned away. But acts like Bloodbath, Amorphis, God Dethroned, and the infamous Grave have shown me the light! With subtle use of melody and a simply crushing guitar tone, Grave is some death metal I could easily get away with blaming a killing spree on.
Grave is like AC/DC in that every one of their albums sounds very similar, yet somehow you end up enjoying them all. Fiendish Regression is quite similar to Back From the Grave. The chord and riff structures are so similar, if you swapped any two songs from either album you’d never know they weren’t intended to be there. Every song is basically the same formula of medium paced power riffing and über evil vocals. Now there is variation in here, from the relaxed pace, slow-motion-boxing-movie pummeling, to the galloping, lopping-off-heads-on-horseback destruction. In the latter, double bass is basically omni-present. The song “Breeder” throws in some speedy stuff, with blast beats and technical soloing.
As much as I enjoy Grave’s winning formula, it does get tiring after extended listening. A couple of improvements could be made. The first would be some varying of tempos and time signatures. When every song has similar timing, you begin to easily predict what is coming next. The second improvement is in the formulaic riffing. While they do include some interesting riffs, they do have a tendency to rely on a single riff for an extended period of time in pretty much every song. Either that, or they just have a slightly contrived way of creating riffs in that the riff pitch will go up for the first bar, then for the second bar it will go down in the exact same way. It’s difficult to describe, but when you hear the album you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Even with the criticisms and seemingly average numbered scores up top, Grave’s latest still manages to make me feel wonderfully evil all over. It’s an album I’d love to blast in my car to make old women feel violated and young children cry out in horror. Grave’s charm comes not from technicality or mind-blowing riffage, but from pure, unrelenting, grandma-raping evil. While this album is something of a “tide-over” album (one you buy to keep you busy while you wait till the next good thing comes around), it’s still highly worthy of your time and money. Old-skool death metallers should enjoy the fiery, satanic hell out of this one.
"Heretic" - This one has the most variety, a good showcase of what the band can do
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Endless Procession of Souls
As Rapture Comes
Back from the Grave