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Grave - "Dominion VIII" (CD)

Grave - "Dominion VIII" CD cover image

"Dominion VIII" track listing:

1. A World In Darkness
2. Fallen (Angel Son)
3. Deathstorm
4. Stained By Hate
5. Bloodpath
6. Annihilated God
7. Sinners Lust
8. Dark Signs
9. 8th Dominion

Reviewed by on May 10, 2008

"This is no-nonsense death metal of the highest order."

If you’ve been following death metal since the early 90’s, you probably own Grave’s debut album, “Into the Grave.” The Swedish band, lead by metal journeyman, Ola Lindgren, made what many insiders believe to be a seminal death metal album right out of the box. They quickly amassed a worldwide following and went on to release a slew of well-received, albeit, not entirely essential albums. Throughout this time, the band threw in other influences to varying degrees of success. The most effective was the hardcore styled riffing on their “Soulless” album. The band fully committed to their strengths and followed their straight-up, death metal instincts on more recent releases.

Lindgren and his cohorts are about to release “Dominion VIII” and the band hasn’t sounded this charged-up in years. Songs like “Sinners Lust” and “Dark Signs” ooze with the kind of riffs that made the genre so irresistible in the first place. This is no-nonsense death metal of the highest order. Through the years, Grave has largely been Lindgren’s show, but the other members make a strong case for themselves here. Ronnie Bergerståhl’s driving bass drum and ride cymbal hits rip and tear through the songs with unforgiving abandon. Bassist, Fredrik Isaksson might not drop ultra-technical lines like someone like Alex Webster would, but his runs fall into the arrangements perfectly.

With bands like Entombed evolving their sound throughout their career, it’s actually refreshing to find a band embrace their original style and sound. You could throw this disc on and play it for someone and say it is an unreleased album from 1990 and they would probably believe you. But sure, it might sound primitive, but we need bands like this doing it and doing it with such passion. Tracks like “Deathstorm” sound lethal no matter what year it is, I suppose. Hopefully younger groups take a cue from Grave and learn that sometimes stripping your material to its most basic and purest elements is the mark of a truly great band.

Highs: This is death metal in it’s most raw and unforgiving form done by a veteran band firing on all cylinders.

Lows: None, unless you are looking for over-the-top arrangements.

Bottom line: Sure, the death metal genre might be overpopulated with weak bands at the moment, but when an album this solid is released, it proves the genre still deserves our attention.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)