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Grayceon - Grayceon CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.80 | 34 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars When a band releases a debut album, we can all but hope that they will show us real flashes of talent, whether that be in an impressive show of technical ability, complex and intelligent yet constantly grabing composition, thoughtful songwriting or a true sense of uniqueness. What Grayceon offer here is, nearly, all of these in plenty and bringing in a sense of adventure to boot.

Though in jazz circles a guitar/drum/cello trio is hardly anything new or really worthy of crowing about for its own sake (the people playing the instruments could be a very different matter, though), its very much unusual in rock and metal. And its this exchanging of bass for cello that partly leads to a very unique sound for the band. What you get is a very technically proficiant performance with a low end that sounds mournful, yet rich in a way that a bass has never produced, or at least not one that I've ever heard. You quickly realise within a few minutes of Sounds Like Thunder starting that rhythm is another point of difference from other bands, all three get stuck into the melody as well as powering into the rhythm, and it is very powerful music. Its played fast and hard, but not without feeling or subtlety when required, with the three musicians skiping about from rhythm to melody and back again ina very controlled manner drawing you in an attempt to listen to what they are all doing indavidually as well as the whole with there never being a dull minute. Jackie Perez-Gatz electric cello playing takes a large roll in this with it double tracked to sound like a violin on several occaisons, to great effect.

Theres no fault to be found with the musicians here, each of them plays their selected instrument with real gusto and feel to a level of technicallity that cant help but leave your jaw hanging open, without ever sounding contrived. As for the sound of the band, versatility is a strong point with guitarist Max Doyle, the aformention celloist Perez-Gatz and drummer Zack Farwell being equelly rhythmic and melodic leading to the music being very dense to listens too at first but with an intensity that never fades, not on the fifth or fiftieth listen.

From the length of the four songs on this album you can clearly see that Grayceon are a band that are very much a fan of the epic, and the music certainly attains epic proportion here, but you could be fogiven for thinking that Song for You is an attempt at a pop song, God knows they wouldnt have been the first band to try that trick, but you'ed be very wrong. Its a short blast of what seems to be almost Romany folk music played by an unusual metal band that slips into captivating riffing that guids you out of the song, mainstream it is not. The longer songs arent as stand out-ish in that they dont have completely different styles to them, but they are different to each other. Sounds Like Thunder is just that, a raucus, powerfully intense song that starts off dark and ominusly but explodes into action. Into the Deep is an appreaciably calmer song ebbs and flows for its entire duration, but never less captivating than its more explosive openers. And finally, The Ride holds aspects from all three and weaves them together to produce a final of epic proportion.

So, if I love the album so much, why only 4 stars? Well, the biggest reason is the vocals. To be perfectly honest they are very poor, to the point were I think the album would have been better served being almost entirely instrumentel, though they actually work on Song for You, to a degree. However, since vocals only take up only a small proportion of the album anyway they dont get in the way of my enjoyment. I also cant help get the feeling that its a little too short at 45 minutes, they need a nother song here, whether it be five or fifteen minutes wouldnt have mattered, they just needed another song on here. I'm also holding back in the beliefe that they can do even better on thier second album, after all, dont bands grow and improve from their debut?

In closing, this is an excellent album, allways heavy but not allways metal, very technical but not laking in subtlety or feeling with no weak tracks or even weak parts to tracks, yet a bit on the short side and with forgetable vocals. The major highlite for me here is the opener, Sounds Like Thunder, whih has ingrained itself into my conscience, but the following three tracks are not far behind. 4.5 stars rounded down to 4 because its not quite a masterpiece, but demands to be heard.

sleeper | 4/5 |


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