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GRAVE
GRAVE
Necropsy - The Complete Demo Recordings 1986 - 1991
(Century Media Records)
125:43min

I think introducing GRAVE here is just like carrying coals to Newcastle. Their first album "Into The Grave" is concerned one of the defining classic albums of Swedish Death Metal, with great justice. For all those who want to know what paved Gotlands one and only the way to record such a milestone, Century Media re-released a double-CD compilation with the entire studio recordings Ola Lindgren, Jörgen Sandström and Jensa Paulsson did before that album in their chronological order. This stuff was already part of the "Death Unhallowed" CD boxset from 2010 as the first two of thirteen discs under the names "Putrefaction Of The Corpse" and "From Obscure Infinity", as well as they were released as a box of three vinyl LPs in 2011, the year GRAVE celebrated their 25th anniversary. Now the two discs are available on a double CD again for all those who did not want to buy the whole boxed set. It's time to dive deep into Metal history... The double pack starts off with a disc entitled "Putrefaction Of The Corpse", hinting on the old band name and the side project all members were in. In 1986, the band formerly known as RISING POWER, DESTROYER and ANGUISH changed its name to CORPSE and recorded their first demo "Black Dawn". Still rooted mainly in German Thrash like early KREATOR and SODOM, Ola, Jörgen and Jensa presented three tracks of energetic, blackened Thrash Metal, pretty much to date back then. But due to these Thrash roots it is no wonder that the songs were not used again later, when the band was renamed for the last time. The only exception is the title track, that was re-recorded in a furious, more blackened version for the "...And Here I Die... Satisfied" EP in 1993, still being one of my fave GRAVE songs. Next up are the tracks Ola, Jörgen and Jensa recorded with Jonas Edwardsson on bass in 1989 for a side project under the moniker PUTREFACTION. The demo was called "Painful Death" and delivered Grindcore influenced stuff that already was hinting a little more on the things to come from GRAVE. But only 'Putrefaction Remains' later became a GRAVE tune while 'Severing Flesh' and 'Painful Death' remained unreleased. But now it's time to turn into the GRAVE with their first demo under the name the band became famous for. "Sick Disgust Eternal" was the first the world was allowed to hear from the guys in 1988, a demo with three songs. A haunting intro leads the way to some relaxed guitars before after more than a minute the first real classic trampled anybody under hoof: 'Into The Grave', that later became the title track of a famous record in a reworked and improved version. The other tracks 'Annihilated Gods' and 'Infernal Massacre', both of them pretty long, showed GRAVE on their way from Thrash to Death Metal, with lots of quite Thrash oriented parts and riffs. Therefore it's no wonder these two were never used for later recordings, although they are pretty good, concerning the time they emerged. The end of disc one is marked by a real classic demo. "Sexual Mutilation" saw the dark of night in 1989 and is up to now the GRAVE demo that was used in the most effective ways, since any of the four songs were re-recorded later. The opener 'Deformed' found its way onto "Into The Grave", while 'Reality Of Life' was recently re-recorded for the "Morbid Ascent" EP. You'll find new versions of 'Morbid Way To Die' on "You'll Never See..." (1992) and 'Sexual Mutilation' on "Burial Ground" from 2010. On "Necropsy" you hear these songs in their original versions: raw, brutal, rampant and barbaric. And sometimes even better... This demo tape is, along with the NIHILIST demos, the real origin of Swedish Death Metal. Entering the second disc, entitled "From Obscure Infinity", we find no less than 18 more songs, most of them released on vinyl or CD back then. The second demo GRAVE released in 1989 was the famous "Anatomia Corporis Humani" tape, which was also released as a now very rare vinyl 12" on German M.B.R. Records two years later. This demo must be mentioned in the same breath with "Sexual Mutilation", even though it features only two songs that were re-recorded for full GRAVE albums. The debut album features a re-done version of 'Extremely Rotten Flesh', while 'Brutally Deceased' made its way to the "You'll Never See..." record. Of course the demo versions here are rawer and cruder, but have their own gory charm. Sadly 'Septic Excrements ' was never re-recorded, I like this pretty creeping monster a lot. The fourth track of this demo is 'Reborn Miscarriage', that was re-recorded just a little later for the split record that is featured on "Necropsy" as well. It's worth mentioning that GRAVE tried out a few effects in the studio, that adds a slight Goregrind touch especially to the vocals on "Anatomia Corporis Humani". Recorded during the same sessions, but spared for other occasions are the songs from the 1989 Promo. These three songs had a different mix, more raw and brutal, without the aforementioned effects. 'Autopsied (Hymn For The Dead)' also made it on the split, while 'As My Life Decays' disappeared forever it seems. The third track was another soon-to-be-classic from "Into The Grave": 'Hating Life', which wasn't the title track of a not that much appreciated GRAVE album, by the way. The year 1990 didn't experience any releases from GRAVE, instead they found a steady bass player in Jonas Torndal, completing the "classic" line-up. With new strength, the band became very busy recording in the end of that year and so 1991 became their year! First they released a split album with DEVOLUTION and DEVIATED INSTINCT, the latter only took part in the CD version of this record. GRAVE participated with four songs on the split, three of them already known from the demos. 'Into The Grave' opened up, in an improved version - even though the album version is better, naturally. 'Reborn Miscarriage' and 'Autopsied' were exclusive to this record, but these two are classic Metal of Death as well. Only the "new" song 'Eroded' re-appeared again, since the song was part of the "Tremendous Pain" recording session from October 1990 in Nobel Studios in Bielefeld, the German town that doesn't exist. GRAVE recorded six songs back then for Century Media. Three of these six tracks were already used in 1991 for Century Media's classic "In The Eyes Of Death" compilation, while the rest appeared on most versions of "...And Here I Die... Satisfied". 'Tremendous Pain' (as the title track) and 'Eroded' were also released as a 7", that was recently officially re-printed. Even though any fan of GRAVE already knows these tracks, it is nice to hear the recording in its entirety, for the stuff is nearly as classic as the album all these recordings led to. The final song on this deeply satisfying compilation is 'Obscure Infinity', a pre-production demo track, that was recorded prior to the "Into The Grave" album in 1991 and featured there as well, in a slightly better version. All in all, we get more than two hours of music, that was carefully (re-)mastered to preserve the authenticity of the original recordings as much as to improve the sound quality. So "Necropsy - The Complete Demo Recordings 1986 - 1991" means lots of joy for all GRAVE diggers, treasure seekers, gem hunters and Death lunatics. Find out more at: www.grave.se, www.facebook.com/graveofficial, or: www.centurymedia.com

Thomas Meyer

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