Reviews

Grave: Enraptured [DVD]

Tight, efficient, old school death metal, Swedish style. That's all we ever ask of Grave, and they deliver.


Grave

Enraptured

MPAA rating: N/A
Label: MVD
UK Release Date: 2006-12-04
US Release Date: 2007-01-16
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

By taking advantages of cheap production costs in the company's home base of Poland, Metal Mind Productions has been able to lure many of extreme metal's finest to Warsaw to film concerts for DVD release, and each time out, the end result is fantastic. Many bands, especially in the death metal realm, rarely get an opportunity to put together such a slickly-produced live document, and Metal Mind gives the bands and its fans true bang for their buck. Each show is expertly filmed with an absurd amount of cameras, from multiple hand-helds to a crane, the editing is always professional (unlike some bands that insist on editing their own material, resulting in cuts that border on epileptic – Steve Harris, I'm looking at you), and the surround mix is always crushing. Such noteworthy artists as Obituary, Dark Tranquillity, and Tiamat have all made the journey to Eastern Europe and left with excellent DVDs in the can, and now you can count Sweden's Grave as the next in a growing list of bands given the Metal Mind treatment.

Formed in the late-'80s, Grave quickly made a name for itself during the early-'90s explosion of Swedish death metal. While bands like At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity, and In Flames carved a then-highly unique niche for themselves by accentuating their brand of unrelentingly brutal music with an unprecedented emphasis on melody, bands like Grave and Entombed focused primarily on groove, spawning an obscure subgenre many would refer to as "death 'n' roll". As forward-thinking as their other death metal peers, these bands also paid homage to their classic metal and hardcore punk roots, often locking their songs into midtempo grooves, giving us music with the undeniable power of extreme metal, but delivered in such a way that compelled the listener to move, instead of just mindlessly moshing. Grave was (and continues to be) especially adept at the style; along with Entombed's legendary Wolverine Blues, Grave's 1994 disc Soulless is regarded as a death 'n' roll benchmark, and a recent example of how ingeniously the band performs this music can be heard on their 2006 cover of Alice In Chains' "Them Bones", which simultaneously cranks up the intensity and the swagger, which the original classic track only hinted at.

Recorded in front of a receptive but polite Warsaw crowd in August of last year, Enraptured features a taut, 16 song set by the band, running around an hour and a half. True to the informality of death metal, the members of Grave (vocalist/guitarist Ola Lindgren, guitarist Jonas Torndal, bassist Fredrik Isaksson, and drummer Pelle Ekegren) look like they just stepped off the street and onto the stage. Unlike more flamboyant forms of metal like black metal and power metal, the emphasis in death metal is less on what's going on onstage, and more about what's coming through the imposing stacks of amplifiers, and consequently, unless you're a fan of the genre, you might find yourself bored quickly. These guys are all business in concert, with very little between-song chatter (Lindgren's habit of growling the decidedly non-metal word "alrighty" never fails to make this writer smile) and very little movement; death metal is a very physically strenuous form of music to perform, so all energy and concentration goes into those sharp riffs, blinding shredding, and machine gun-like blastbeats.

However, while there is little action onstage save for the band's technical twiddling, that's where the outstanding work of Metal Mind comes in, as the crew offers us superb glimpses of the musicians in action, affording us crisply defined shots of guitar solos and drum fills. It's the kind of stuff that guitar geeks drool over, and they will love seeing Lindgren and Torndal in action so up close, as they and the rest of the band tear through a set that only gives a brief nod to 2006's As Rapture Comes album, placing stronger emphasis on their early-'90s output instead, from ancient fan favorites like "Deformed", "Into the Grave" and "Extremely Rotten Flesh", to such classic Soulless tracks as "Turning Black", "Bullets Are Mine", and "Soulless".

As with most Metal Mind DVDs, the focus is more on the actual concert performance instead of an overload of extra features, but fans do get a small number of bonuses, including an interview with Lindgren and Torndal, as well as three music videos. Many music DVDs place too much emphasis on extras, but the fact that both Grave and Metal Mind have enough confidence in the live recording to let the concert do the majority of the talking speaks volumes about the high quality of the product.

7
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

12 Essential Performances from New Orleans' Piano "Professors"

New Orleans music is renowned for its piano players. Here's a dozen jams from great Crescent City keyboardists, past and present, and a little something extra.

Music

Jess Williamson Reimagines the Occult As Source Power on 'Sorceress'

Folk singer-songwriter, Jess Williamson wants listeners to know magic is not found in tarot cards or mass-produced smudge sticks. Rather, transformative power is deeply personal, thereby locating Sorceress as an indelible conveyor of strength and wisdom.

By the Book

Flight and Return: Kendra Atleework's Memoir, 'Miracle Country'

Although inconsistent as a memoir, Miracle Country is a breathtaking environmental history. Atleework is a shrewd observer and her writing is a gratifying contribution to the desert-literature genre.

Music

Mark Olson and Ingunn Ringvold Celebrate New Album With Performance Video (premiere)

Mark Olson (The Jayhawks) and Ingunn Ringvold share a 20-minute performance video that highlights their new album, Magdalen Accepts the Invitation. "This was an opportunity to perform the new songs and pretend in a way that we were still going on tour because we had been so looking forward to that."

Music

David Grubbs and Taku Unami Collaborate on the Downright Riveting 'Comet Meta'

Comet Meta is a brilliant record full of compositions and moments worthy of their own accord, but what's really enticing is that it's not only by David Grubbs but of him. It's perhaps the most emotive, dream-like, and accomplished piece of Grubbsian experimental post-rock.

Music

On Their 2003 Self-Titled Album, Buzzcocks Donned a Harder Sound and Wore it With Style and Taste

Buzzcocks, the band's fourth album since their return to touring in 1989, changed their sound but retained what made them great in the first place

Reading Pandemics

Chaucer's Plague Tales

In 18 months, the "Great Pestilence" of 1348-49 killed half of England's population, and by 1351 half the population of the world. Chaucer's plague tales reveal the conservative edges of an astonishingly innovative medieval poet.

Music

Country's Jaime Wyatt Gets in Touch With Herself on 'Neon Cross'

Neon Cross is country artist Jaime Wyatt's way of getting in touch with all the emotions she's been going through. But more specifically, it's about accepting both the past and the present and moving on with pride.

Music

Counterbalance 17: Public Enemy - 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back'

Hip-hop makes its debut on the Big List with Public Enemy’s meaty, beaty manifesto, and all the jealous punks can’t stop the dunk. Counterbalance’s Klinger and Mendelsohn give it a listen.

Music

Sondre Lerche and the Art of Radical Sincerity

"It feels strange to say it", says Norwegian pop artist Sondre Lerche about his ninth studio album, "but this is the perfect time for Patience. I wanted this to be something meaningful in the middle of all that's going on."

Books

How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.

Film

From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.