"Dominion VIII" (Regain; 2008)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Veteran Swedish band Grave returns with another installment of sinewy death metal that blends high-speed velocity and doom-laden crunch on the nine-track "Dominion VIII." 

This devastating affair demonstrates the band's ability to go from slow crawl to rapid-fire pace in the blink of an eye ("Annihilated Christ") in addition to displaying Grave's unwavering attachment to the darker side of the spectrum on cuts like "Stained By Hate."

Twenty years in and still as extreme as their early days, this truculent crew returns in fine fighting form, ready to go into metal combat with the vitriolic virtue and fortified firepower that has rendered them one of Swedish elite death metal's forces. 

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"Fiendish Regression" (Century Media; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

My first introduction to Grave was from a few tracks that appeared on Century Media's "Identity" series in the late 90s. I can honestly say that the "Identity" series was responsible for me checking out the likes of Moonspell, Samael, and countless other bands. Since I wasn't big into death metal at the time I would listen to, but not really pay attention to, bands like Grave. Although I've come to respect the death metal genre it still isn't something I automatically reach for. Certainly I haven't been spending my hard earned money on death metal albums. To give you some perspective, my only serious recollection about Grave was that I knew Grave's original bassist and vocalist Jorgen Sandstrom left in 1996 and is currently entrenched in Entombed.

I know most of Grave's material since Sandstom's departure has been pilloried by various webzines and fansites, but after listening to "Fiendish Regression" I have to say I kind of like Grave's brand of mid-paced death metal. The following comments may (or may not) be tempered by the fact that I'd just spent countless hours revisiting the entire Nile catalog prior to sitting down with "Fiendish Regression." Nile, as most of you know, is highly technical and the band often plays at ridiculous speeds. Anyway, the pacing on the nine original tracks on "Fiendish Regression" are very slow by most death metal band's standards, but since I'd rather hear death metal played more slowly than at a constant up tempo beat I'll take Grave's approach any day of the week. There are a few tracks on "Fiendish Regression" where the pace is picked up to fairly high-intensity levels and this does wonders to keep the album from being an entirely mid-paced affair.

If you've been a fan of Grave in the past I'm certain you'll like what you'll hear on "Fiendish Regression" as Grave strikes me as a band that hasn't changed too much over the years.

"Fiendish Regression" contains nine tracks of well-played, mid-paced, old-school Swedish death metal. I know for a fact that I would not have cared one lick for this type of record back in 1998, but "Fiendish Regression" is something that I can fully appreciate in 2004.

My particular version of "Fiendish Regression" contains a bonus track which is a cover of Saint Vitus' "Burial At Sea" as well as a re-recorded version of one of the band's early demo songs "Autopsied." The Saint Vitus track is particularly noteworthy for its length, relentless groove, blistering middle section, and a salving return to the relentless groove for the song's finale.

"Fiendish Regression" was produced by Tommy Tagtgren, Peter Tagtgren, and Grave.

Grave: Ola Lindgren on vocals and guitar, Jonas Torndal on guitars, Fredrik Isaksson on bass, and Pelle Ekegren on drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10 Jul 2022 15:03:27 -0400.