** Going back to Into the Grave, Sweden's terribly heavy death metal outfit Grave had few peers. Now, some many moons later, the Stockholmites still have few peers on new album, Out Of Respect For The Dead. Built on solid death metal foundation (no question), Grave's new album pummels, punishes, and putrefies, with tracks such as "Mass Grave Mass", "Flesh Before My Eyes", and "Trail of Ungodly Trades" feeling freshly peeled off the skin of a recently-dead corpse. We tracked down frontman and original member Ola Lindgren to see what makes Grave tick after decades of cemetery work and mausoleum repair.
What separates new album, Out Of Respect For The Dead, from Endless Procession of Souls?
Ola Lindgren: I think it carries on the ideas we had for Endless Procession of Souls, with well-written songs combined with brutality and groove. The new album is taking that even further and with another level of aggression.
Musically, Out Of Respect For The Dead is very intense, which is saying a lot for a Grave album. Were you set on making one of the most aggressive Grave albums in the band’s history with this one?
Ola Lindgren: It was not intentionally written like that. However, when we started putting songs together they all had that raw pissed off feeling to it, which we then just stuck to throughout the finishing process.
But there’s also a lot of variation. What drives that? Dynamics? Light and dark. Heavy and light.
Ola Lindgren: Yes, that’s what I really like about it and that’s also what ties it together with Endless Procession of Souls and the Morbid Ascent EP as well. Well-written songs with variety and quirks that keeps the entire record interesting. Nothing really drives that except trying to be honest to our fans and our legacy.
What topics are you exploring on Out Of Respect For The Dead?
Ola Lindgren: There’s not really anything new about the lyrical topics. I write a lot about religious stupidity, life and death and everything in between, blood and guts and the supernatural.
Where’d you come up with the title, Out Of Respect For The Dead?
Ola Lindgren: I was watching a movie that was based on a true story and when the credits rolled with the usual ‘the names and/or characters has been altered to protect bla bla bla…’ It just caught my eye. “Out of respect for the dead” has a good ring to it and I’m surprised there isn’t 17 albums out there already with that title.
Where was the new album recorded and who produced it?
Ola Lindgren: It was recorded, mixed and mastered by me in our own Studio Soulless here in Stockholm.
Did you ever think you’d be doing Grave this far into your life?
Ola Lindgren: No, absolutely not but I’m very glad we’re still rockin’ after all these years.
What makes Grave tick?
Ola Lindgren: Well, for me it’s a combination of having a great and solid line-up that all contribute to the songwriting process and are easy to get along with plus, of course, our fans. People still showing an interest in hearing new material and to see us play live is the most important and rewarding.
Grave had a setback with Ronnie. Is Ronnie fully recovered and back on the drums?
Ola Lindgren: Yes, Ronnie is back where he belongs and we are very happy and thankful for that.
How does it make you feel to know Grave has influenced others?
Ola Lindgren: It’s kinda weird when younger bands tell you that we influenced them, but in another way I have my own idols and favorite bands that made me want to start playing music when I grew up, so in one way I can relate to it.
What do you think makes death metal relevant after all these years?
Ola Lindgren: It is relevant just by still being as big as it is. Trends come and go in every music genre and even within metal music but nothing remains for more than a couple of albums or a few years. Death metal fans are among the most loyal there is and that’s why the genre and all its great bands are still going strong.
Where does Grave fit, in your opinion, in the history of death metal? Leader or follower?
Ola Lindgren: Leader for sure. In the early days, before getting signed, we followed a lot of bands trying to play their style and sound like them as I’m sure most bands start out. That, however, evolved into us finding our own identity and creating our sound and style.
** Grave's new album, Out of Respect for the Dead, is out now on Century Media Records. Find your death metal salvation HERE. Of course, on wax, plastic, and digital, but only wax and plastic are real!