If you’re a Metalhead and not into Death Metal then seriously what are you doing? I understand that it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but surely if you like Slayer, Kreator, Sodom or any other more extreme Thrash act then Death Metal is the next logical step. Not to mention that ironically Death Metal is totally alive right now, booming in fact. Not just booming in a sense of its more purist form either, the underground sub-genres are openly embracing it with references to old gods of the genre. As they say there are only two things certain in life, Death Metal and taxes, or something like that.
Sweden is no stranger to the world of Death Metal, it’s unique Boss HM-2 pedal sound has caused great admiration from the rest of the world. Classic artists like Dismember, Grave and Entombed all receiving great praise and now hailed as titans. In recent years the sound has seen a bit of a resurgence across the rest of the lobe through the likes of Tomb Mold, Undergang and Galvanizer whom all appear to pull influence from the country’s sound inputting it into their own brands of Death Metal. Bastard Grave who formed in 2012 are the latest purveyors we come to speak of, yet these morbid maniacs hail from the sounds native Sweden. Their rise has seen the release of a debut, What Lies Beyond in 2015 and now in 2019 we get our latest offering from these Swedish newcomers the ghastly named second full length Diorama Of Human Suffering released through Pulverised Records.
Opening track, Life In The Sewers isn’t a cover of the TMNT theme, instead it is a Swedish Death Metal crusher steeped in decimating rhythm guitar riffs, crumbling bass, melodic leads, pained drumming and traditional vocals. Pummelling forth we come to Drowning In An Ocean Of Bile which a similarly crusty affair full of that dirt ridden attitude that is so often seen in Swedish Death Metal, but is it really all that exciting? The title track is certainly a return to form as it were and amplifies the band through its hook laden riffs, yet it quickly fades away into obscurity melding with the rest of the album.
Transubstantiation Into Faeces further bolsters the mid section of this release and is perhaps the most exciting track on the album, with the most intriguing moments and overall power. Following track Inner Carnivore also proves itself as quite the anthem, yet alas it soon falls into the same trap as the titular number, blending into a wash of overdone Swedish worship riffs and guitar tones. The final few tracks thereafter equally become a blob of tiresome, uninspiring Death Metal that whilst listenable and enjoyable is a touch lacklustre given the high calibre of bands out there today.
I’ve spoken many a time about flooding of genre’s on this blog before and Bastard Grave are such a case. By no means are they bad but they simply lack something, this is the case of a band taking worship too literally or simply not literally enough. I mean this in the sense that when you hear a total rip off artist you normally get some enjoyment purely based on the fact that they sound exactly like X band, for example Attic and King Diamond. Whereas in the case of Bastard Grave they are drawing said influence from a whole genre but without the extra special something that makes a band like Dismember pop in the mix. If you want to get into Death Metal then Bastard Grave are sure to please but why would you go for them when you could have Grave?
(6/10 George Caley)