GRAVE, the Swedish dual guitar foursome, is something of an institution, with a nearly three decades long career. As if to prove the point, they played a trio from their '91 Into The Grave debut, including ''Extremely Rotten Flesh', 'Day Of Mourning' and the title track. Despite the longevity, they were afforded, almost exclusively, standard white lights. Vocalist/guitarist/founder Ola Lindgren dedicated one song "to our bass player. He's dead," presumably meaning retired Fredrik "Fedda" Isaksson. It was mostly three bodies across the stage, one each flanking Lindgren, as the pit remained astir throughout the set. 'Turning Black' was up early, while 'Passion Of The Weak', off their latest (Endless Procession Of Souls) saw the stage go red, a rare moment of work for the lighting tech. The concluding 'Into The Grave' met with an enthusiastic, no rapturous response, although once announced, there was quite a bit of zombie milling about, in the crowd.
While excellent at riling up the pit denizens, not well enough versed in the works of DARK FUNERAL to distinguish them from countless, like-minded, corpse-painted contemporaries. Sure they've been around for twenty years, and seen them repeatedly (usually on the undercard of a multi-band bill, or part of a big festival), but the numerous line-up changes (their "best known" members: Blackmoon and Emperor Magnus Caligula, having since flown the coop). Still, recognize older tracks, like 'Vobiscum Satanas' and four off Diabolis Interium material (including teh opening 'Arrival Of Satan's Empire' and 'Hail Murder'), which comprised half the set.
It's MORBID ANGEL, which means David Vincent is there moving back & forth and guitar whiz Trey Azagthoth seems confined to a 12 square foot area of the stage, hair perpetually obscuring his face, just delivering the goods (evils?). "Immortal Rites' opens, followed by 'Fall From Grace', then it's a classic trio, 'Rapture', 'Maze Of Torment' and 'Sworn To The Black', the moshers in a frenzy. A pair off the controversial Illud Divinum Insanus ('Existo Vulgore' and 'Nevermore') are met with rather blaize indifference. When Vincent announces 'Angel Of Disease', all is right with the world again. 'Chapel Of Ghouls' completes the proper set, only to come back for an encore that included 'Where The Slime Lives', 'Bil Ur-Sag', 'God Of Emptiness' and the World Of Shit' finale.
Score one for the dark side!
Check out more photos here.
Fan-filmed footage can be seen below: