House Of Metal - 2017

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Grave was the first band for us on the basement stage called Studion. Apparently, they were a popular signing for the festival, because the place was nearly packed when we came down there.

“Thanks a bunch, Umeå! We’re Grave from Sweden, I almost ended up saying. Nah, where the hell are we from?”
- Ola Lindgren (vocals/guitar)

As the heat was rising, the band walked out on the stage, and cut straight into the meat of it. So to say.
The band opened hard and fast (do they know any other way?) with the title track of their latest album, 2015’s Out Of Respect For The Dead.
The musical direction was, not surprisingly, laid down by this, and they kept on delivering one death metal smasher after the other.
What was a surprise however, to me at least, was the excellent mood the band seemed to be in. Lindgren instigated a well-received “hey” chant already in that first song, warming the crowd up with vigour.
Despite the crowded space on the stage, the members of Grave were also unusually vital in their performance, with Tobias Christiansson (bass) and Mika Lagrén (guitar) often switching sides, and Lindgren having no problem in stepping away from the microphone while not growling. Lagrén was in fact incredibly helpful to the band in creating a good connection with the crowd, as he was often reaching out across the barrier, or simply creating eye contact and bouncing that energy back and forth.

The sound was a bit muddy, I have to admit, but Grave wasn’t the only band with this problem at this stage. When you play as fast as they do, it just becomes that more apparent. This is sad actually, since they were far above their usual standard in all other aspects. I also thought it was a fun gimmick that the band name would show up from time to time in the light boxes in the back, although I would later find out that this was not an exclusive trick for this band.
Not only did Grave get a large audience, they also got a massive response in the form of appreciative shouts, and headbanging where there was space for it. This was one of the hardest bands booked this year, and the crowd obviously loved it.

Personally, I haven’t always been that impressed with Grave, but I feel they did a very good job of it here. Sadly, we couldn’t stay until the end, as the overlapping time-schedule dictated that we leave for the next band while Grave was still playing. I am informed however, that those who stuck around were treated to a very cool cover of Alice In Chains’ song Them Bones. I would have liked to see that.

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