Grave - Dominion VIII
Regain Records
Death Metal
9 songs (44'08")
Release year: 2008
Grave, Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex

Someone from our own stuff who is younger (this person is no longer with us, unfortunately) once pointed out how Grave and Unleashed were releasing lackluster albums. Granted, this statement came out at the time of Fiendish Regression and Sworn Allegiance, respectively, but the comment stuck with me. I think I did already mention it once in one of my earlier reviews. That remark, and the fact I promised to review all big three of old Swedish death metal (see reviews for Unleashed and Dismember earlier in the season) led me to finally find my way around to share my opinion about Dominion VIII. It also pissed me off big time that Unleashed released their strongest album in years, not to get a single reader vote in Death Metal category. It feels like the roots are being forgotten.

Everybody in the aforementioned Swedish scene had their own demons to exorcize. Grave were working on putting past them less successful mid 90s output which mired them in sticky rudderless groove. If As Rapture Comes stated the comeback intention, Dominion VIII announces it loudly.

From the first distorted notes of A World in Darkness we have on display faster destruction sowing riffs, bass focused production, drumming patterns shifting from thrash and double bass to blasting violence. Ronnie Bergerstahl who drummed Centinex and Amaran (both sadly defunct) to prominence is now occupying the drum stool. The only respite can come in the form of doom infused breakdowns (A World in Darkness, Fallen [Angel Son]). It is if Ola Lindgren & Co have decided to purposefully eschew any notion of melody and harmony. The closest they would come to groove is the militaristic fury of Deathstorm, but most of the time the main attraction are classic Swedish death metal riffs, which are damn catchy, even if slightly overused (Annihilated God, Sinners Lust). It is good to see Annihilated God being re-recorded from an old demo. As in years past, Grave also has a propensity to bury themselves with the self-imposed rotten dirty muck, only to look for a way out in the form of a twisted quick solo (Stained by Hate).

Above all this Ola growls possessed, leading descend into the hellish underbelly, the closing of Sinners Lust and the whole of Dark Signs being a true hymn to all forces dark and evil. This is where misanthropy completely bubbles to the surface and the closing title track hammers home one last and lasting imprint, the brand left by the iron so hot it would be impossible to rub off.

Monochromatic in its approach, by design, and the rawest in terms of production and musicianship between the trio also including the latest from Dismember and Unleashed, Dominion VIII also takes the third place in my pantheon of this year old school Swedish death metal. This is not the slight, as the other two stalwarts definitely reached for the top bar, especially Unleashed.

Killing Songs :
The album finishes very strongly with Annihilated God, Sinners Lust, Dark Signs and 8th Dominion
Alex quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Grave that we have reviewed:
Grave - Burial Ground reviewed by Alex and quoted 74 / 100
Grave - Fiendish Regression reviewed by Jack and quoted 85 / 100
Grave - Back From The Grave reviewed by Jack and quoted 95 / 100
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