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Grave | Fiendish Regression | review | metal | Lollipop
Fiendish Regression (Century Media)
by Tim Den
Unfortunately, there's more truth to the title than the band realizes.
Ever since the inventive brutality of Hating Life failed to catch on with the (let's face it: one-dimensional) death metal crowd, Grave have been all too eager to return to their phee-phi-pho-phum primitivity to please the mob. 2002's Back From the Grave succeeded with satisfactory results, but only cuz the band hadn't released an album in six years and we were desperate for anything new. Fiendish Regression, on the other hand, wakes us up from our "Yay! Grave are back!" slumber to find pedestrian riffs, half-assed rhythmic ideas, and interchangeable songs. New drummer Pelle Ekegren adds faster speeds to the band's arsenal for the first time in a long time, but no blast/polka beat can save such sleepy riffs as the opening to "Heretic" or the entirety of "Inner Voice." It's as if Grave are trying to rewrite Hellhammer demo tunes, except it's 2004 and lifeless chugs don't sound as interesting as they did back in the early '80s.
Quite a disappointment. Let's hope these guys haven't run out of the natural talent that made their back catalog so essential.