originally written by Erik Thomas
I’ve been struggling with this review for a few weeks now. Why? Well because I love Grave; their debut ranks close to Entombed’s Left Hand Path and Dismember’s Like An Ever Flowing Stream as far as Swedish death metal classics, and despite a brief hiatus from 1996 -2002, the band has consistently stayed the course with 9 albums now.
Admittedly, the band’s post-Jorgen Sandstrom era hasn’t been as impressive or classic, but Ola Lindgren has forged ahead with various cohorts and cranked out 5 albums, including the riotously good reunion album Back From the Grave, and while the likes of As Rapture Comes, Fiendish Regression and 2008’s Dominion VIII were all solid, I can safely say that none were barnstormers and that Ola and company seem to be treading water.
And that about sums up Burial Ground – it’s another solid and satisfying, if unspectacular, Grave album. As with the last couple of albums, Ola goes for a much more raw sound rather than rehashing their Stockholm buzz of yore, and it sounds suitably gnarly and analog in an era of triggers and ProTools. All 9 songs mix plenty of thick grooves and some cantankerous blast beats, with the likes of “Sexual Mutilation”, “Semblance in Black”, “Ridden with Belief” and “Dismembered Mind” blending in perfect veteran unison. However, where Grave seems more confident is when they concentrate on murky grooves such as “Ridden with Belief”, “Conqueror” and the album’s closing standout title track (all 7 minutes of it), which lurches with a sickly, almost doomy menace. But as with the last few albums, nothing on the album cries out for multiple listens other than for nostalgia value.
Part of the issue for me is that I’ve recently been listening to lots of other retro old-school death metal bands such as Lifeless, Cardiac Arrest, Interment, Tormenticon, Demonical, Torture Division and even the likes of Stockholm sounding US Stalwarts Fatalist and Black Breath which have lessened the impact of Grave’s effort .