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Unholy Grave - "Grind Killers" (CD)

Unholy Grave - "Grind Killers" CD cover image

"Grind Killers" track listing:

1. Prologue (:06)
2. Confession (2:16)
3. Buried Terror (:52)
4. Pay The Price? (1:32)
5. Media’s Story (1:46)
6. Death By Terror (2:01)
7. Free From Fear (1:51)
8. Murderer (1:59)
9. We Are Human (1:18)
10. Motorcharged (1:22)
11. Morbid Dark Angels (:32)
12. Little Bastards (1:16)
13. Blind Barrier (1:43)
14. Missing Children (1:42)
15. Justice? (2:05)
16. Beat On The Brat (2:12)
17. No Racial Superiority (1:40)
18. Maniacal Discharge (1:54)
19. Deadly Terror (1:44)
20. Terror After Terror (1:28)
21. Freedom To Eat (1:17)
22. Grind Faith (1:22)
23. Epilogue (:04)

Reviewed by on March 22, 2010

"'Grind Killers' isn’t an essential grind album, but has a few quality performances and a stripped-down intensity that lacks the polish of a lot of modern albums."

While grind fans have been singing the praises of legends like Napalm Death and Brutal Truth, Japan's Unholy Grave has been lying in the shadows for the better part of two decades. Cranking out countless full-lengths, EP’s, live albums, and splits, the band has not slowed down as a new decade has come into fruition. “Grind Killers” is their third release so far this year, and is a collection of old songs recorded live in a Dutch studio back in September 2008 during the midst of a European tour. The album isn’t groundbreaking, but is an enjoyable romp through the band’s classic numbers oozing with primal energy.

Like much grind music, “Grind Killers” flies by at a breakneck pace, with its 23 tracks barely crossing the half-hour mark. A few songs break the two-minute mark, but the material is largely short, fast, and brimming with attitude. It’s isn’t all blast beats and incomprehensible vocals, though there is plenty of those two on the album. Punk seems to be flowing through the dark blood of Unholy Grave as well, evident with their cover of The Ramones “Beat On The Brat” and several tracks where a bouncy melody comes into play. This contrast adds variety to the album and avoids it all blending into one jumbled sonic mess.

The longer tracks are the more engaging ones, as they leave the band open to show some musical chops. “Confession” has a slow instrumental build, as the endless drum rolls lead into a roaring grind assault, while “Death By Terror” has a satisfying air of catchiness. Terror seems to be their favorite word, as no less than four songs have that word in the main title. That should tell you all you need to know about the lyrical depth of Unholy Grave.

Since “Grind Killers” was performed entirely live in the studio, there is a kinetic spark emulating from the album. The band kept everything as-is, mistakes and all, and it gives off a carefree mood to the whole album. All the instruments are audible and that’s it: no shine, no gloss, no high-end mixing. The rawness of the production gives a major kick to straightforward grind numbers like “Buried Terror” and “Morbid Dark Angels.”

For fans of the band, “Grind Killers” is yet another piece of music to add to the towering collection that Unholy Grave has created. The majority of these songs have been on several other releases, so die-hards may find it to be unnecessary. Newer fans of the band will find it to be a solid starting point to the band’s career. The only song that is out of place is the Ramones cover, with terrible clean vocals that poorly mimic Joey Ramone. “Grind Killers” isn’t an essential grind album, but has a few quality performances and a stripped-down intensity that lacks the polish of a lot of modern albums.

Highs: Raw production works to band's benefit, energetic performances, the punk elements add depth to the album.

Lows: No new material, only really essential for die-hards, awful clean vocals on Ramones cover.

Bottom line: A solid starting point to get into grindcore band Unholy Grave, but not a necessary purchase for the die-hards.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 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)