F U L L . R E V I E W S



Grave
Dominion VIII

Company: Regain Records
Release: 2008
Genre: Death
Reviewer: Etiam

  • A satisfying slab of death metal



  • With so many metal bands capitulating to modern production standards and hyper-compression, 'Dominion VIII' score immediate points by refusing to compromise Grave's trademark fuzzgrinding style. Of course, this should really come as no surprise; since 1993, Grave have been the misanthropic black sheep of the Swedish death metal scene. While many metal bands may sing about death, violence, and anti-religious themes, Grave is the one that always seems to really mean it. With songs like 'Stained By Hate', 'Annihilated God', and 'Sinners Lust', 'Dominion VIII' continues to tread that tried and true 'Bloodpath' (if you will).

    Never the most technical or catchy of Sweden's great exports, Grave has relied on Ola's visceral riffing and redoubtable roar--the only constant through these 15 years, 20+ if you count Corpse--to make their name. Ola's style draws as much from weighty doom metal as it does from the classic Swedish shuffle, and he crafts each song from a handful of single our two-phrase riffs that habitually glide over the downbeat. As expected, 'Dominion VIII' is packed with that same no-frills songwriting broken up by a handful of gaudy solos, which are as much a Grave trademark as are Ola's vocals. These leads are epitomized by the exclamation to the single 'Bloodpath': short, but with plenty of attitude from tricks like simultaneous tapping and tremolo arm bending. Not wholly self-derivative, this album does feature a few new ideas, such as the sustained chord articulation on 'Dark Signs' and the processed clean bookends to the 'title' track. Suspension chords with tritones also seem more prominent now than before and lend Ola's generally steady riffing a subtle vertigo.

    Since coming 'Back From the Grave' in 2002, Ola's troupe had resisted lineup changes, but that streak comes to an end here. Switching drummers and losing a guitarist, Grave were once more made a trio by the departure of Jonas Torndal, who had been the band's off-and-on guitarist/bassist for a total of 10 years. The drumming on 'Dominion VIII' is handled by Ronnie Bergerståhl, newly arrived from the now-defunct Centinex (as well as trad doomsters World Below). His style fits in well with Grave--metronomic double bass and a half-time cymbal crash being a favorite technique, alongside the mainstay 4/4 splash.

    Still, this eighth LP does have a bit more muted sound than the absolutely massive 'As Rapture Comes', which lessens the impact of Ola's visceral riffing. Perhaps as a result, the sparks of inspiration don't seem to be as consistent here as on the previous outing. Each track is defined from the next and none can really be deemed filler, but there is no barnstorming 'Burn' or insidious 'Now and Forever' to make 'Dominion VIII' a peak in Grave's discography. Nonetheless, 'Dominion VIII' is still a satisfying slab of death metal that reminds us of what 'heavy' used to sound like, before the advent of sub-drops and ubiquitous staccato breakdowns.


    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: GRAVE
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Back From The GraveGrave
    2002
    Troy Cole2/18/2003
    Dominion VIIIGrave
    2008
    Etiam12/22/2008
    Fiendish ReggressionGrave
    2004
    Eric Compton8/30/2004


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: GRAVE
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Morbid AscentGrave
    2013
    Greg Watson10/4/2013


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: GRAVE
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE


    YOU MAY ALSO LIKE THESE DEATH STYLED RELEASES:


    << back >>






    ERIC COMPTON PICKS
    Sea
    Sea
    Anima Morte
    Upon Darkened Stains
    Black Star Riders
    Killer Instinct
    Insomnium
    Across The Dark
    Nightmare
    Insurrection

    GREG WATSON PICKS
    Heidra
    Awaiting Dawn
    Bloodbath
    Grand Morbid Funeral
    Anaal Nathrakh
    Desideratum
    Cognition
    Spiral of Deception
    StoneWire
    When the Crow Flies

    FRANK HILL PICKS
    Gentlemens Pistols
    S/T
    Five Finger Death Punch
    The Way of the Fist
    Honeymoon Disease
    The Transcendence
    Volbeat
    Rock The Rebel / Metal The Devil
    A Sound of Thunder
    Who Do You Think We Are?

    DAVID LOVELESS PICKS
    Wolves in the Throne Room
    Black Cascade
    Deathspell Omega
    Veritas Diaboli…
    Galactic Empire
    Galactic Empire
    Architect
    All Is Not Lost
    Ensiferum
    Victory Songs