GRAVE — Into the Grave (review)

GRAVE — Into the Grave album cover Album · 1991 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
Although one of the earliest examples of death metal and one of Sweden’s big four along with Dismember, Entombed and Unleashed, GRAVE has nevertheless become one of the more forgotten of these acts despite having enjoyed considerable success during its initial run. GRAVE was formed by vocalist / guitarist Ola Lindgren in Visby which sits on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. Although starting off under the Corpse moniker, the name was changed to GRAVE in 1988 and soon followed by a number of demos, singles and EPs up until the debut album INTO THE GRAVE was released in 1991.

This early lineup included Lingren on guitars and vocals along with Jörgen Sandström who also performed guitars and vocals on the first three albums before jumping over to the more popular Entombed. Jens Paulsson played drums and bass duties were performed by Jonas Torndal. Death metal has become one of the most popular metal subgenera in the last thirty years having branched off into myriad directions but in the early 90s the style was coming of age and showcased a purity of the style that has been lost in time. After INTO THE GRAVE, the band would embark on a European and American tour which found them sowing the seeds of death metal destruction but seems to have been relegated as a footnote in old school death metal history.

While not as technical as bands like Death, Atheist, Edge of Sanity, Demilich or Gorguts, GRAVE was very much cranking out all those heavily distorted low-tuned guitar riffs that employed the tremolo picking, growly vocals and double kick blastbeat techniques in the company of other pioneers such as Carnage, God Macabre, Entombed, Dismember and Unleashed before death metal splintered off into the myriad directions of tech death, melo-death, death and roll and what have ya. Many of these bands played together with members switching from one band to another. Despite GRAVE existing as one of the more popular bands of the early 90s, the band became increasingly forgotten due to newer bands pushing death metal ever further into unexplored territories.

In many ways this early 90s style of old death metal is like a museum of sort much like video game museums feature classic arcade games. INTO THE GRAVE showcases the fledgling genre just as it had come of its own and while other bands like Morbid Angel and Death may have been more explorative in terms of advancing the genre, GRAVE performed an excellent example of tracks in this particular phase of the genre with all those characteristics of death metal perfectly executed on INTO THE GRAVE. At this point death metal still had connections to 80s metal styles and therefore had melodic underpinnings that while present were suffocated by the rampaging riffs, death growls and blastbeats.

While it’s true INTO THE GRAVE has little to offer in terms of originality, what i love most about this band’s debut is the consistency of the material presented and how well executed this early style of death metal is and serves as a point of reference for where old school death metal was at the time. While Death was generating the first progressive death metal and Suffocation was getting more brutal followed by bands splintering in all directions, the death metal presented on INTO THE GRAVE is a satisfying snapshot of where the genre was at its most pure at the moment when the genre started taking on much more experimental approaches. Death metal is an interesting beast in that the differences are razor thin between certain bands but for some reason this one resonates whereas similar bands like Obituary and Bolt Thrower just don’t quite scratch that itch in the same way. For death metal historians, this is one not to be missed.
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siLLy puPPy wrote:
2 months ago
It's all good! I don't put bands in competition. Some i like listening to more than others. I love tons of artists no one else seems to. We're all freaks in our own way!
UMUR wrote:
2 months ago
Oh well this is one of the times we´ll have to agree to disagree (I absolutely adore Obituary and Bolt Thrower :-) and old school death metal in general, and I´m less inclined to enjoy the more modern sounding tech death). Grave to me was just always a second tier old school death metal act.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
2 months ago
I agree that they aren't my favorite band but then again old school death metal isn't as exciting to me as the newer more technical bands however when it comes to this old school style, i'd much rather listen to Grave than bands like Obituary, Bolt Thrower or mediocre bands like Massacre. It's all in the subtleties!
UMUR wrote:
2 months ago
I purchased this album when it was released and still have my vinyl copy. I enjoyed it back then but Grave was never a favorite and I much preferred Entombed, Dismember, Unleashed, and Edge of Sanity over them and to some extent still do. They´ve had some decent releases over the years though (this one included), but I can´t say I´m a huge fan.


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