Grave - Endless Procession of Souls (Century Media Records)
By: Mike Sloan
[8/10] One of the rare bands that is usually on point at all times and typically delivers exactly what you desire, Grave is back with their tenth full-length Endless Process of Souls. Alongside the likes of Deceased, Napalm Death, Master and fellow Swedes Unleashed, you usually always know what to expect each time a new Grave album hits the open market. Luckily for the Grave fan in all of us, Endless Procession of Souls is more of the same ole’ old school Swedish death metal these cats helped manufacture 20-some odd years ago.
As expected, the production is clean and potent, though the raspiness and raw energy is almost fully intact. In keeping with their usual mid-paced to fast delivery of death metal, Grave chugs along at a moderate level, taking their time in getting their point across to the listener. The drums aren’t quite as thunderous as we like, but they’re fierce enough to do a serviceable job. The guitars are crushing with that heavy Swedish buzz and Ola Lindgren’s vocals are as menacing as ever, which compliments the style of death metal that really only Grave and a minute handful of others can call their own.
Those who purchase the limited edition box set will receive the CD, a few bonus tracks on a second CD, a patch and poster. Those who scoop up the deluxe double vinyl version will get an extra record full of cover songs of such acts as Anthrax, Alice in Chains, Voivod, Asphyx, St. Vitus and some band called Celtic Frost.
Grave has always found themselves in the somewhat unfortunate position of being grouped together with countrymen Entombed and Dismember (but hardly ever the aforementioned Unleashed, for some reason) and over the course of their existence, never really got their just due. Obviously Entombed’s Left Hand Path and masterpiece Wolverine Blues nab most of the accolades, as does Dismember’s Like an Ever Flowing Stream, but Grave has actually been far more reliable and consistent than the other two bands combined. Their essential Into the Grave, Soulless and You’ll Never See… are classics of the genre and they’ve only bolstered their resume with nothing but solid efforts each time out.
Endless Procession of Souls is no different.
Considering that Dismember no longer exists and Entombed haven’t released squat in over five years, maybe it’s about time Grave takes over the mantle as the kings of old school Swedish death metal. Some will complain that only Lindgren is the only original member and that the real Grave no longer exists, but that’s a bunch of poppycock.
Obviously blowhards of the elite (Entombed) will disagree, as will the legions of Unleashed fans (myself included). But it’s only appropriate that Grave finally garners the sort of recognition they’ve deserved after all these years and not the sort of, “…Oh yeah. Grave is cool, too…” sort of responses they’ve typically gotten. Grave kicks ass, always have, and by the sounds of Endless Procession of Souls, they always will.