Originally written by Erik Thomas
I don’t think I ever thought that Grave would ever top the genre defining mastery of their first three albums though I’m a bit of an oddball regarding them as I think Soulless is a bit overrated and You’ll Never See was never fully appreciated (and on a side note I happen to think the widely pannedHating Life kicks ass). So when Grave reformed in 2002 with the aptly titledBack From the Grave, I think most were completely satisfied with more of the same. However, for me its follow up, 2004’s Fiendish Regression, was just that, a regression or sorts.
So here we are with part three of the band’s ‘comeback’ and Grave are certainly consistent and absolutely stubborn in their delivery of mid paced, down tuned, groove laden Stockholm savagery, and for that, I love ‘em as arguably Grave and Dismember are the only remaining bands of ‘that’ era, still consistently plying a high quality version of the their original sound.
As Rapture Comes is probably as good as Back From the Grave, so that means it’s better than Fiendish Regression, but not as good as any of the band’s early releases (depending on how you view Hating Life). So that means it’s good, not genre defining great (they already did that), just good ol’ fashioned Grave and maybe just a dashed more pissed off then they have been on their return.
The only consistent piece of Grave has been guitarist/vocalist Ola Lindgren and though reunited with guitarist Jonas Torndal since the comeback, you still get a sense Ola is running the show as every track of As Rapture Comesis rife with his thick riffs, gnarly but restrained blasts and strained roar. And it all still works. Though blistering “By Demons Bred”, “Living the Dead Behind”, “Unholy Terror” and “Epic Obliteration” certainly harken to the speed of the band’s debut, and seem more tangibly intense than both of the last two albums, it’s the lure of the pure Stockholm gold riff of “Through Eternity”, the lumbering “Battle of Eden” and the rumbling girth of the title track that are what do it for me with their nostalgic, heaving heaviness. However, can’t let nostalgia get in the way of subjective reviewing as for all the throwback goodness, As Rapture Comes isn’t going to blow you away musically and truthfully, some of the songs are a bit long for the simplistic style they purvey. Also, the cover of Alice In Chains’ “Them Bones” makes a less than impression transtion to death metal.
Though I miss Tomas Skogsberg’s beautiful mid range tone, Peter Tägtgren’s slightly more primal sound is adequately earthy and grimy and makes As Rapture Comes fittingly old school sounding without resting on its laurels resulting is a satisfying and no frills album of of classic Swedish death metal.
Boo creepy foot doctor. Hooray Grave!