A band that I hadn’t really thought about in a while was Grave. Not because they aren’t any good but simply because my tastes have changed. I got lost discovering other bands for many years and hadn’t realized that Grave was actually still around and doing their thing. There has, in fact, been eight full length albums released since I stopped listening to them, but a friend recently sent me a concert video titled Enraptured and reminded me of what I’ve been missing. The video didn’t exactly reinvent the band for me, nor did it inspire the urge to run out and purchase the albums that I’ve missed. However, I did find it an extremely entertaining and fantastic addition to my DVD collection.
Grave is one of the greatest death metal bands to come out of Sweden. By crunching out songs like “Heretic” and “Into the Grave” they stand tall next to Unleashed and Entombed, showing that there is more to their country than just iron ore and timber. Their method of rhythmic guitar playing and high speed drumming is exactly what I always loved and respected from this genre of music. They never try to impress you with how fast they can play or how distorted they can sound. Rather they prove that rhythm and melody can be displayed in a type of music that repels most audiences at first pass. Any avid death metal fan will tell you that not every song sounds the same and not every band is alike.
The audio on Enraptured definitely expresses this point. I particularly enjoyed the intro music that was played before the band even took the stage. It was very much like a movie soundtrack, and I’m positive a portion of it is in fact a score from some sci-fi or horror flick, and I will not rest until I find out what it is. The quality of this video is exceptional. You can hear pretty much every note played, every beat of the drum, and every word roared. Those words may not be legible but you can hear what Ola wants you to hear. There is also this thing called the internet for those who really need to know what he’s singing about. When listening to this style of music I don’t care so much about what the song means. I like to hear how the songs change pace and evoke different emotions from trancelike movements that rival techno and house music to raging speed. After everything, it’s all just beats. You can play them on a synthesizer or play them on a guitar, but it all means the same thing. It comes down to what you prefer. Grave obviously chose the guitar. Anyway, the audio is top notch and when combined with the visuals, is even more entertaining then the original studio cuts on some of the songs. The setlist was quite fine as well. A bigger fan might have wanted to hear some other tracks but being that I have missed their last eight albums, and consider myself “out of the Grave,” I was completely satisfied with what I heard. If someone was into death metal but never heard of this band, I think they would feel the same.
Visually this DVD isn’t anything particularly special. There is mediocre lighting onstage and no set pieces at all. I acknowledge that those types of things aren’t exactly necessary when seeing a band live but I thought it was worth mentioning. There is some great camera work and some excellent close-up shots of the band thrashing away. The film looks good; not like some cheap bootleg made from a cellphone or handheld camera. You can tell that the venue isn’t that big and that helps bring you closer to the band and allows you to feel like there is a more personal setting for the show. Wouldn’t we all like to see our favorite bands up close and personal? I never wished the camera was somewhere else and the music was synched up nicely; unlike a Gwar video I used to own (Live from Antarctica) where several times it was obvious that the bass player was playing a completely different song.
There were some extra features as well. Two live songs, “Rise” and “Into the Grave”, which didn’t have the same quality as the original concert, and a music video for the song “Soulless” can be found. The video was not very exciting. As much I like the music I’ve never been a fan of the whole “stare at the camera and look mean” thing. I’m sure Ola was coached but he should have fought against that. Particularly where he mimics ripping his soul apart by tearing an invisible soul in the air. He also grips his heart with his hands clenched like eagle claws at one point. It was all sort of comical. There is a short interview with Ola and Jonas (singer and guitar player) that is pretty decent as well. I loved hearing about the band’s interest in Alice in Chains (a favorite of mine) and there is a great story about how the name Grave came about.
In short, I really did enjoy this DVD. I’ve watched it twice already and if I had enough friends who cared about this type of thing I’d be showing them as well. I guess part of me regrets missing out on Grave’s timeline over the past decade, but I found them again and I’m glad they are still around. It’s good to know that death metal is not “Dead” metal and then when it’s necessary we can all pull up a good hardcore album or DVD that allows us to connect with anger felt by someone else who is simply there to help us through the day.
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