Grind is an interesting sub-genre, home to many different sub-genres that are united in the main principle of thrillseeking. Harder and faster is the name of the game, with most tracks hovering around the 1-minute mark. So this will be quick, but it will be very, very painful.
Lonely Grave is a Swedish grind band hailing from Umeå, and they play a mixture of grindcore, its punkier variety powerviolence and extrude an air of nastiness. You will find breakneck pacing, short songs (the shortest being Intrusive Pines at 31 seconds) that just blaze on by. Heavy, punk/metal riffs, buzzsaw guitars to the tune of screamed and mid-pitch growling, accompanied by blastbeats, skank beats and fast-and-hard drums aplenty. It’s everything you love about grind, not much more.
Unfortunately, this also means an unconventional and at times unsuited production: the buzzsaw tones, the compressed bassy sound, it’s a bit off, and while this may give some bands an edge (or so it is claimed) that is not the case here. Bottom line is, it could’ve been produced a little better.
In any case…
Craterface kicks off with The Extremist and the song, starting off with a wall of noise, seems like a declaration of intentions: the song bares it all for the listeners. Like that particular song, the album is a balancing act between the faster grind elements and the slower death metal elements. This is perhaps best demonstrated in Tub, where the listener is treated to both sides of the equation in equal measure. This serves the album well, as it keeps things from getting too stale in either direction, and keeps the songs exciting. Structure-wise, the songs usually do not waste time, get to brass tacks quickly and make the most of their time (check out Kneeling Begging Do It for an exercise in song ebb and flow, condensed into barely a minute.)
There is one exception to that, however. The title track, Craterface, is a total, useless time-sink. It’s the third longest track of the album and it’s just around 2 minutes of distorted noise. There is a hint of texture underneath it all, but unlike some releases that evolve from such breaks, this goes nowhere. The next track, They Shall Take Up Serpents kicks off and moves forward as if nothing had happened, so it’s two minutes of a 16-minute album that is completely wasted.
Also, the glorious finish, The Three Beggars is a purebred, my-blood-runs-black type sludge metal song. It is captivating, heavy, dissonant, leisurely paced and is everything that a sludge song should be, and while it ends with a twist, it showcases that maybe Lonely Grave can do slow and heavy as well as fast and dirty. It helps that the song doesn’t take up the average lifespan of a Koala to get to the point, and so the payoff is huge. This seems to be a more focused and even better direction for Lonely Grave than the rest of the thrills offered in Craterface, especially since comparisons to Napalm Death is particularly inevitable.
So if you want razor-sharp grind with razor-thin production with a side order of connected genres in the mix, then Craterface is an album that you should check out. Genre lovers / enthusiasts should also give this a go, but for those wondering what the hell grind is, there are more and better (and better-produced) albums out there. Still, for a first effort, it’s solid enough that you might wanna keep an eye on these guys.
There are 3 members, and that is all we know.
01. The Extremist
04. Simian Laughter
05. Intrusive Pines
06. Kneeling Begging Do It
08. They Shall Take Up Serpents
09. Buy Punk Gloves
10. Don’t Let Me In
11. The Three Beggars
Footnote: Lonely Grave seems to have a mission statement, which is “Eat shit psych-rockers.” I don’t know what psych-rockers did to these Swedes, but if having that particular axe to grind will help them get meaner, then I, for one, am all for it.