Century Media Records - The Number ONE in Metal worldwide

Burial Ground (Re-issue 2019)
Digital album, clear LP, orange LP, blue LP, black LP, Ltd. CD Digipak

Ola Lindgren
(Guitar / Vocals)
Mika Lagren
Tobias Cristiansson
Tomas Lagrén

Grave don’t follow trends. The Swedes don’t care what’s hip. Grave aren’t interested in the next big thing. This might sound atavistic, but Grave, since forming out of the ashes of Corpse in 1988, have made death metal their own. That’s right. From classic debut full-length, Into the Grave, to 2012’s celebrated Endless Procession of Souls, the Gotlanders imprint on death metal has been legendary. They’ve influenced and informed hundreds, if not thousands of longhairs and axe-slayers to take on the most brutal form of music known to mankind. “It’s kind of weird when younger bands tell me that we influenced them,” frontman Ola Lindgren croaks. “But, in another way, I have my own idols and favorite bands that made me want to start playing music when I grew up. So, in one way, I can relate to it.”

Growing up in the island town of Visby, Lindgren should’ve had sufficient safe harbor from death metal’s malignant reach. But he succumbed willfully, just as his peers some 5 hours away (by boat) in Stockholm had. Autopsy, Repulsion, Morbid Angel, Napalm Death, and others polluted his young and very impressionable mind and heart with their toxic tempos and superbly evil riffage. By the time he was old enough to drive, death metal had penetrated Lindgren’s lifeblood and there was, officially, no turning back. To think Lindgren and Grave are still going after almost three decades of haunting cemeteries and chapels worldwide is something of a minor miracle. When asked if Lindgren thought he’d be killing it this long on the job, he said, “No, absolutely not. But I’m very glad we’re still rockin’ after all these years.”

Rockin’ is an understatement. Endless Procession of Souls, the group’s first full-length back on Century Media after years on the lam, was heavily lauded by Grave’s ardent fanbase. Praised for its uncompromising relentlessness and hook-laden songs, the Swedes’ 10th full-length continued the scorched earth policy initially set in motion back in 1991 with songs like “Tremendous Pain” and “Eroded”. “In the early days, before getting signed, we followed a lot of bands trying to play their style and sound like them, as I’m sure most bands start out,” the frontman says. “That, however, evolved into us finding our own identity and creating our sound and style.”

From Into the Grave, You’ll Never See, and Soulless to As Rapture Comes, Burial Ground, and Endless Procession of Souls, there’s no denying Grave’s powerful signature. They epitomize death metal and all its tenets. New album, Out of Respect for the Dead, is proof the Swedes have a savage architecture and aren’t about to let the superfluous distract from conquering all. “I think it carries on the ideas we had for Endless Procession of Souls with well-written songs, combined with brutality and groove,” grins Lindgren. “The new album is taking that even further and with another level of aggression.”

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Grave in the group’s own Studio Soulless in Stockholm, Out of Respect for the Dead sounds like it was meant to violate and execute. Songs such as “Mass Grave Mass”, “Redeemed through Hate”, and the title track feel as if they were unearthed from the early ‘90s. They’re ungodly good and uncommonly cruel. In fact, Out of Respect for the Dead might just be Grave’s most confrontational album since You’ll Never See vomited mightily on the mundane, the stale, and the weak. “It was
not intentionally written like that,” he admits. “However, when we started putting songs together, they all had that raw pissed-off feeling to them. We then just stuck to that throughout the finishing process.”

But Out of Respect for the Dead isn’t just 50-minutes of mindless brawn and cro-magnon posturing. “Plain Pine Box”, “The Ominous 'They'” and the nine-minute closing epic, “Grotesque Glory” represent Grave’s other side. They counter the relentless with the slow and creepy. Whereas Grave in full-on barbarian mode is like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, when they’re composed the Swedes are more like The Fog, strange, unpredictable, and scary. “That’s what I really like about the new album,” agrees Lindgren. “And that’s also what ties it together with Endless Procession of Souls and the Morbid Ascent EP. Well-written songs with variety and quirks that keep the entire record interesting. Nothing really drives that except trying to be honest to our fans and our legacy.”

As for where the title, Out of Respect for the Dead, originated, Lindgren says it all began with a movie. It wasn’t the movie’s theme or gross content that inspired the Swede, however. He found inspiration in the credit roll. “I was watching a movie and when the credits rolled with the usual ‘the names and/or characters have been altered to protect…’ it just caught my eye. ‘Out of respect for the dead’ has a good ring to it and I’m surprised there aren’t 17 albums out there already with that title.”

It remains to be seen if Grave have another 30 years left in them, but one thing is certain: the Swedes are reliably awesome. They’ve lived through the ups and downs of death metal. They’ve dealt with turbulent and painful lineup changes. And yet they remain strong, proud, and resilient. Out of Respect for the Dead is by Grave for Grave and their followers. “Trends come and go in every music genre,” Lindgren says. “Even within metal music. Death metal fans are among the most loyal there are. And that’s why the genre and all its great bands are still going strong.”

Respect the dead. Honor the fallen. And all hail Grave!!!