Combining former members of local bands Brainstorm and Entity, Engrave was formed in Los Angeles in early 1997. With a sound showcasing elements of both traditional death and early thrash metal, the band features Emilio Marquez, Mario Gutierrez, Adrian Villanueva, and Robert Cardenas. Their first album, The Rebirth, was issued through SOD magazine's own independent imprint in 1998. A demo, called The Infernal Bleeding, followed in 1999, and 2001 saw their debut reissued with bonus tracks by WWIII Records. Jimmy Ash replaced Villanueva prior to the band's performance at the Milwaukee Metal Fest later that year.
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