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GRAYCEON

Experimental/Post Metal • United States


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Grayceon biography
Background:
Grayceon was formed in 2005 by Max Doyle and Zack Farwell from Walken and Jackie Perez Gratz from Amber Asylum but is also involved with and has played with many bands (the list is at the end of this passage). They played together and liked the result and decided to keep on going with it and wrote new material. They recorded a demo in 2006 which they sent to several record companies, finally to catch the attention of Vendlus Records through which they released their first s/t album in March 2007. They have toured the US and Canada with fellows Giant Squid (with which Jackie has played before. Look out for Giant Squid's page here in PA) and they are planning further tours for the rest of 2007.

The other bands which Jackie has played or collaborated with:
Giant Squid, Asunder, Neurosis, Tribes of Neurot, Steve Von Till, Jarboe, Today is the Day, Ludicra, Lost Goat, Weakling, The Gault, Hammers of Misfortune, The Fucking Champs, Matmos and Two Gallants,

Music:
Grayceon offers something for everyone. Some post-rock textures, some sludge metal (but of a lighter flavor than others in this field), some good old crunchy riffs of metal, and great epics which are amplified in their effect by the magnificent use of the cello by Jackie and the vocal harmonies of Jackie and Max Doyle. The cello and guitar are used both as background and as solo instruments together and alone, which is another interesting aspect of their sound. They have the ability to create compelling music, long epic tracks with mesmerizing textures, alternating between a soft sound to a rapid and even raw sounding part in which the drums go wild and at times beat like in a death metal track. With the tracks in their s/t album, you go on a mental ride (as is one of the song titles) which passes through different emotional states between tracks and within a track (melancholy, pensive, rage and whatever else the music conjures in your mind). While the long 3 tracks have this majestic feel when coming to their occasional chorus, Grayceon still has this subtle raw and free spirit feel to them, which is probably due to the 3 instrument lineup, their unique sound. This goes beyond metal/rock, and the term progressive is therefore, most suitable. The end result is compelling and most of all, beautiful.
They have been compared in sound but mostly in spirit to several bands, but it would not do justice with their music to do so, as they manage to be in a position where ...
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All We DestroyAll We Destroy
Profound Lore 2011
Audio CD$9.99
$3.98 (used)
This Grand ShowThis Grand Show
Import
Vendlus Records 2008
Audio CD$9.99
$9.98 (used)
Pearl & The End of DaysPearl & The End of Days
Flenser 2013
Vinyl$16.65
$18.50 (used)
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GRAYCEON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GRAYCEON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.73 | 38 ratings
Grayceon
2007
3.96 | 14 ratings
This Grand Show
2008
3.67 | 28 ratings
All We Destroy
2011

GRAYCEON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GRAYCEON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GRAYCEON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GRAYCEON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
The West
2007
4.33 | 3 ratings
Pearl and the End of Days
2013

GRAYCEON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 All We Destroy by GRAYCEON album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.67 | 28 ratings

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All We Destroy
Grayceon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by tamijo

3 stars The setup of Electric Cello, Guitar, Drums, and a mix of male and female vocals, on a Post-Metal album, could not sound more interesting, so I was expecting something rather special. And it is somewhat special, the cello is unique and do make a 'different' sound, but when you get used to it, and listen to the album without paying special attention to the Cello, it does not stick out that much, and what you got is relative straight forward metal most of the time.

There are moments of Cello driven 'classic' inspired music, works especially well on the 17 min. 'We Can'.

All in all, this is too standard Heavy Metal, to make my water boil, its ok, but not at all essential, I can creep up to a 3 star rating, helped by the fine 'Shellmounds' and the even better Epic 'We Can'.

The ballade 'Once a shadow' is relatively forgettable, and attempt on something different, almost a bit 'Gentle Gaint'ish, but the melody nothing special. And the shifts in and out of 'heavy' parts, predictable.

The finishing track War's End, is a piece of calm chamber music, with a soft mellow song. A fine ending, although it seems somewhat misplaced, on this already confused Metal album.

Prog Heavy and Prog. Metal today, is at a very high level, Crayceon's All We Destroy, is well below the top mark. The concept is no doubt interesting, but they have to do better, to make it stand out from all those other bands.

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 All We Destroy by GRAYCEON album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.67 | 28 ratings

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All We Destroy
Grayceon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by bartosso

4 stars Hello, this is cello

Chamber metal. Hah, perfect name for a style Grayceon presents on their third full-length record entitled ALL WE DESTROY and released by Profound Lore Records, a label renowned for hosting such bands as Agalloch and Altar of Plagues. It is dark, imaginative, organic, unusual and very, very genuine concept album. And there's cello. And the cellist is a woman. And she sings in the album! Mother of God!!!

"Organic" and "chamber" are the words that come to my mind while listening to ALL WE DESTROY. Thanks to masterfully performed, downtuned guitar passages, the sound is not flat, despite the absence of bass guitar (cool, right?). All instruments sound both natural and clean. The production is organic to the extent of giving me an impression of a live concert in a little music club! Really, really great work.

The music played by Grayceon is called chamber metal as it incorporates chamber orchestration provided by the cellist Jackie Perez Gratz and "pickless" yet heavy guitar playing by Max Doyle. Alternatively it's often tagged post metal for it's diversity of genres from outside the metal one - classical, post-rock and progressive rock music. Songs in ALL WE DESTROY are full of well flowing passages and despite their length, every track seems to have its own identity. They drag on a bit sometimes but hey, none of them is overdone! As for vocals by Mrs Gratz, there's still some space for improvement but it can be safely said, that her relatively low pitched voice and emotionally charged singing can send a shiver down your spine.

Grayceon is gradually mastering an incredibly demanding style they have created and become more and more self-confident with every album. While ALL WE DESTROY can be a bit tiresome experience, its freshness and beauty outweighs all of its drawbacks. If you're into chamber music, yearning for fresh approach to progressive metal or just want to experience something genuinely emotional, get this album!

TRACKS BY RATINGS: 9/10[fantastic!]: Shellmounds; A Road Less Traveled || 8/10[great]: We Can || 7/10[very good]: Once A Shadow; War's End; Dreamer Deceived ||

-- Originally posted on METALMUSICARCHIVES.com --

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 All We Destroy by GRAYCEON album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.67 | 28 ratings

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All We Destroy
Grayceon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 6/10

"All We Destroy" is a bit disappointing but still a decent and original metal album.

Grayceon is a band I've wanted to check out for a while. I'm glad I did. 'All We Destroy' is their third album, and it seems like it's being recognized as their best so far, put in comparison to their 2007 self titled debut and their sophomore effort 'This Grand Show'. But 'All We Destroy' wasn't as good as I thought it would be, honestly.

Grayceon's sound is one of the most original in the modern progressive metal scene: the band has three members, Max Doyle on guitars and vocals, Zack Farwell on drums and Jackie Perez Gratz on electric cello and vocals, which is definitely the most noticeable original element of Grayceon's music. Since the instruments are three, the sound here is not at all huge, but very reserved and closed up. There are no wall of sounds, no gigantic riffs (despite the music is somewhat influenced by Sludge Metal), and this is a low point for me. Also, the electric cello ma turn some people off, like it did with me in a few moments. The production is a little rough, but what is impeccable is the mixing , especially concerning the drums, that sound so precise and sharp, in a way that I've never heard before. The vocals though are a little lazy sounding at times, but in others, especially when Gratz really takes it out, it gives a very unique tone.

The album has some low and high points; 'Dreamer Deceived' has a very dramatic and tense atmosphere, 'Shellmounds' is more haunting and calm. The seventeen minute 'We Can' has some great moments as well, even though sometimes a little forgettable. Some slower songs are more present in the second half of the album, starting with 'Once A Shadow', and ending with 'War's End', two decent songs. 'A Road Less Travelled' is more like the first half of the album, more energetic and forceful.

An album that didn't exactly capture me, but they're some moments here that I keep coming back to. Whoever like their progressive metal to have some original and different elements is welcome to check this out.

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 All We Destroy by GRAYCEON album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.67 | 28 ratings

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All We Destroy
Grayceon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'All We Destroy' - Grayceon (7/10)

A band largely defined by their running vocal harmonies and heavy use of cello in their sludge metal sound, Grayceon have certainly turned heads with their self-titled debut, and dramatic follow-up 'This Grand Show'. With recent collaborations with such bands as Giant Squid and Agalloch under their frontwoman's belt, the band was already fairly established within post-metal circles before the release of their third, latest work 'All We Destroy'. Doing what a good follow-up should, the third album builds upon its predecessors by adding a few new layers to their already unique sound. Although the band still has their weaknesses to contend with, it is clear that Grayceon's strikingly distinctive sound is the best thing they have going for them.

Concise metal drumming, crushing downtuned riffs and organic string sections make up the core of Grayceon's sound. Instrumentally, the band has always been able to create a very distinct voice for themselves that screams their name almost instantly. In a music world now filled with all too many copycats, it is to the band's great credit that they have a unique sound to them. When it comes to actually channeling this sound properly however, the results can be mixed at times. Although Grayceon is in no dearth of intelligence when it comes to their keen and surprisingly technical music, there are moments in 'All We Destroy' where the talent still feels unharnessed and too raw for its own good. Among these would be the drawn out instrumentations of the seventeen minute sweeping track 'We Can', which get a tad too indulgent, almost to the point where the doomy riffs and atmosphere is leading nowhere. Be that as it may, Grayceon remain masters of dynamic, and their contrast between warm post-rock sections and sludgy heaviness has never been stronger. Better yet, each of Grayceon's members are represented equally here in the mix, which only adds to the existing dimension.

An issue I've had with Grayceon that has often kept me at bay from considering myself a fan of the band are the vocals which play overtop the clever musicianship. The dual singing and running male-female harmonies that were so prevalent on the debut really turned me off; while not being necessarily unpleasant, they felt somewhat aimless and did not feel as if they complimented the rest of the music properly. Fortunately, Grayceon's lead singer (and cellist) Jackie Perez-Gratz has upped her vocal chops here, and the dual singing gimmick has been greatly moderated, to the point where it can actually accentuate parts instead of making the vocal element in Grayceon feel monotonous. She has a distinctive lower female range, and the tone of the voice itself works well in tandem with the downtuned guitars and cello. However, the vocal melodies themselves often feel somewhat lackluster, especially in the heavier moments. The opener 'Dreamer Deceived' revolves around a recurring vocal theme by Gratz that holds little weight to it, and can get a little irritating by the end. On the other hand, the vocal moments of the more subtle tracks 'Once A Shadow' and 'War's End' are nearly angelic.

The highlight here is- without a doubt- 'Shellmounds', which was released a short while before the album itself came out. It features Grayceon at what sounds like their tightest; beautifully intentioned post-rock passages, thrashy riffing, wonderful dynamic, and a sense of moderation that is simply masterful. While much of the album does not reach this level of perfection that 'Shellmounds' sets out, it becomes more difficult to ignore the sombre majesty of the band's sound with each new listen. 'All We Destroy' has its fair share of flaws, but it's the towering strengths of Grayceon's tact and sound which make the album an excellent one.

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 All We Destroy by GRAYCEON album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.67 | 28 ratings

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All We Destroy
Grayceon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by madmike

2 stars Grayceon's new album "All We Destroy", while bringing a relatively fresh approach to the concept of progressive metal, ends up quickly becoming stale and repetitive, with many of their more creative choices of direction being essentially reduced to gimmickry. It becomes clear quickly why much of the instrumental focus is directed toward Jackie Gratz's electric cello, as the guitar and drum work ultimately plays out to a series of ineffective and repetitious riffage, which becomes painfully apparent on the sprawling seventeen-minute track "We Can", which would have been far more suited to being a composition closer to the six-minute mark, carrying fewer truly engaging musical ideas than most, if not all, of the other tracks on the album.

That's not to say that the album is a total loss, however. Jackie's vocals are, on balance, quite good (although, sadly, somewhat limited in their use, as the band focuses more on instrumentation), and the two songs bookending "We Can", "Shellmounds" and "Once A Shadow" are surprisingly strong efforts that make you realize how much talent the project has, and yet how little of it seemed to be used on the rest of the album.

Overall, the end result felt more like a glorified solo album than a cohesive effort between musicians, but yet at the same time makes me curious to see what else this band may have up their sleeves in the future. I'd consider this album a strong pass for all but fans of cello metal, but still put these guys down as a band to watch for in the future.

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 All We Destroy by GRAYCEON album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.67 | 28 ratings

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All We Destroy
Grayceon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Long Live the Queen

Metal and prog are musical genres dominated by men both on stage and in the audience. Many of the women in these bands function as eye candy or at best as skilled vocalists. I can think of no prog metal band where the musical brains rest inside a female noggin. Until Grayceon. To be fair, cellist / vocalist Jackie Perez Gratz is simply the lead actor in a trio of talented musicians, all of whom contribute essential aspects to the band's sound. On ALL WE DESTROY, Gratz' vocals have improved significantly, to the point that they are now a true focal point of the band's sound. Jackie joined fellow "post rock plus" band Giant Squid for their last album, and clearly came back home with some new skills and ideas. She's also lent her cello to numerous other metal project's, including Agalloch's recent MARROW OF THE SPIRIT. The band's entire sound has been an exercise in making heavy music around her classically trained cello skills, and the result has left reviewer after reviewer scrambling to try to define a genre for the band. My best label is "chamber metal" and I would cue prog listeners by saying that Grayceon sounds a little like a cross between Maudlin of the Well and Univers Zero.

Now on their third album, the trio truly have found their groove and it's a sound that really has never been done before save by themselves. Gratz uses an electric cello, downtuned, and plays composed lines the weave in and out of the music as an essential part of the sound. Similarly, guitarist Max Doyle utilizes a custom low tuning on six string, played with fingers rather than pick. (This is extremely rare in metal.) Drummer Jack Farwell pulls in jazzy cymbal work, organic grooves, and even occasional blast beats to fill plenty of the space left by the absense of a bass player. In the past, vocal duties were shared between Doyle and Gratz, but now Doyle simply provides support (often very dark harmonies) to Jackie. Though the vocals are more prominent than on previous albums, they still act more as another layer in the sound rather than the center around which the rest of the music finds its place. Often lines are repeated in an eerie mantra-like quality that adds to the dark nature of the music in general.

ALL WE DESTROY opens with "Dreamer Deceived" which after a very brief intro hits us with a guttural scream, just to make sure we know we're in the land of metal. The refrain of "I can't comprehend how you left me with the bloody knife" introduces the vocal style and we get some sludgy riffing which all gets the mind ready for what's to come. Just as the piece start to get a little stale, we get "Shellmounds," one of the centerpieces of the album. Much more complex, the song begins with a triplet guitar figure, builds to a galloping metal rhythm backed by blast beats, only to slow again before an intense finish. The album's title theme comes from this song with an obvious nod to DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. Next comes the only true epic of the album "We Can," which features several solo spots for Gratz's cello, some pastoral proggy parts in 3 reminscent of Opeth, and another dramatic climax. "Once a Shadow" is probably the most melodic song on the album, and includes a descending chromatic theme that alludes to "Chim-Chim-Cher-ee" from Mary Poppins that still works within the sad, dark theme. (I did mention these guys were hard to pin down didn't I?) "A Road Less Travelled" is another strong composition, but probably stands out the least on the album. The album ends with "War's End" which is probably the softest piece on the album and features some nice word play and a gentle send off that makes me want to turn around and start the album right over again.

While the band has said that ALL WE DESTROY is not a themed album like the previous THIS GRAND SHOW, it clearly centers around genuine intellectual reflection on ideas of violence. What's more, the album's coherence as a whole is superior as the pacing and variation in the music is perfect. By the end of previous albums I was a little worn out. Not here. The band really has honed their craft to a point that they may have produced the signature effort of their career. At this point, this is the best album of 2011 for me, and actually bests every album of 2010 as well. In a year that looks to be a great one for prog and metal, Ms. Gratz and her buds are going to be hard to catch.

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 This Grand Show by GRAYCEON album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.96 | 14 ratings

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This Grand Show
Grayceon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Negoba
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Tasty but Strangely Spiced Post-Metalish Stew - Chamber Metal?

Those who seem to be in the know have said that Grayceon is not post-metal, but the band's music is certainly based in the atmospheric sludgy sound of that genre. However, they add some unique elements that I've heard virtually nowhere else. Jackie Perez Gratz' addition of cello and clean female vocals give Grayceon a quite unique sound. She had also contributed to the band Giant Squid, whose album I had liked and led me to THIS GRAND SHOW. As it turns out, I actually like the Grayceon album better than the Squid disc. The combination of Perez and Max Doyle's vocals is both more interesting and easier on the ears than GS's System of a Down styled singing. In addition, the cello's intrinsic role in the music just adds, well, a nice spice to the stew, perhaps hinting at maudlin of the Well.

Like Toby Driver's projects, there is something essentially beautiful about Grayceon's sound despite its melancholic drag. And while the band has a great signature sound, varies their tempos, and shows us a number of looks in their lead elements, they just don't have the bag of tricks that Driver does. No track really stands out or grabs you by the collar and demands attention. In that way, it allies itself with post-metal or even post-rock as background mood music rather than art metal that requires close attention to detail. But this is deceptive, for the additional textures make this music better than any post-metal I've ever listened to.

In fact, this is a little bit of a difficult review, as Grayceon's sound is very hard to put your finger on. But it's good. I keep coming back to it to listen again. More than Indukti (another band in this category that uses strings) as Grayceon's compositions are much better. More than Giant Squid which is just grating enough to get old before the album is over. More than Pelican. More than Isis. I suppose it comes down to the sophistication of the compositions. At this moment, I listen through the epic "Sleep" and realize how meticulously this music has been constructed. It is now that the term Chamber Metal comes into my mind.

Fans of Kayo Dot and Maudlin of the Well are almost certain to enjoy this album, though it is clearly more accessible than either of those projects. Still, this is very ambitious music that actually accomplished what so many other bands attempt and don't quite accomplish in my opinion. If there was just that sense of awe or true transcendence, this would be a masterpiece.

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 Grayceon by GRAYCEON album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.73 | 38 ratings

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Grayceon
Grayceon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by digdug

4 stars I am really starting to like this album a lot. The cello as a main instrument mixed with a powerful metal style guitar and frenetic drumming sounds like it would never work, but it does. I know the instruments are not the same, but the cello sort of gives me the same feel as Anglagard or maybe Anekdoten, and then mix in the well done female vocals and you have a very quirky band that grows and grows on you. I will be acquiring there new album sooner rather than later and I am really looking forward to it. Bravo! Bravo!

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 This Grand Show by GRAYCEON album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.96 | 14 ratings

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This Grand Show
Grayceon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by avestin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Promotional album received from XO Press, on behalf of Vendlus Records and Grayceon

A continuation

Grayceon's s/t album was one of my favourite releases of 2007; an album I got addicted to, drowned in, in love with. With its captivating sound, the Grayceon trio with their cello-guitar-drums made a deep impact, not only on me but on a wide audience as evidenced by the numerous positive reviews they've received. It is therefore not surprising that this, their second effort, released in 2008 is one of the year's most anticipated albums, not only by myself. They face a difficult task in this aspect; following up on what to is a stellar first release and a fabulous album in itself. Where would they go from here? Do they even need to go somewhere? Is repetition enough? Or do they need to evolve progress and offer us something new not heard on the first album? I personally was curious to see how they chose to go, and was trying to keep an open mind in that regard.

What do we get? The way I hear and see it, this is an album that continues in the lines of the first one, proceeds several steps beyond that one and delivers a tighter sounding band. It might not offer much new comparing to what we heard, but there are some novel ideas thrown in there (at various points in the songs Still The Desert and Sleep for instance). But as a whole, it will sound almost familiar; not the tunes, obviously, but the atmosphere, the sounds, the interplay of the guitar and electric cello, the melancholy of the music, the crushing riffs and the thundering drums.

I felt "at home" right away with the It Beings, And So It Ends, the opening track of the album. It sounds familiar in a heart warming way, as if you've reunite with a loved one that was gone for a long time. In fact it sounds as if it starts from the middle of a track in a way, as if they were interrupted at the end of the previous album (which is correct in a way, since it ended in a fade out). The hesitant-like notes of the guitar and the cello enveloping it re-introduce us to the band's sound, to that typical gloomy mood they produce, one which I personally adore. From this quiet, calm opening, the band builds up, in their now usual style, a fascinating musical tapestry made up of interchanging tempos and varying levels of aggression, interplay of the guitar and cello and dominant drum playing. Though it is the shortest track on the album, it is a dense and packed piece covering several emotional grounds.

It goes on and links with the second song, Still The Desert, without interference, which after a short intro, present the first vocals on the album, performed by Jackie and Max with their contrasting vocals, which mirrors the relationship between their instruments. While the music, or rather the sound and frame of mind, seem familiar, there is still the captivating element here that was present in their previous album; a sound that when I hear, I can't seem to want to let it go. As they progress and build up their song, making changes to their speed and direction and then resuming the original theme of the song, I can't help but be a prisoner to their music, gulping in every drop of note they're willing to give. Even though it is still a minimalistic lineup, being a trio, their sound, when one is willing to be submerged in it, is still grand and epic. They add some new touches with some faster sections in the longer songs, a background screaming (barely noticeable though) by Jackie (in Still The Desert) and an overall sense of trying to achieve a larger impact and effect on the listener this time.

Sleep, the longest song here at over 20 minutes may be the equivalent of Ride from their first album, starting in the same delicate way, gently offering the topic of the song; however it is, unlike Ride, more coherent, more structured and clearly presented. It is a powerful song, soon escalating its raw energy level and speed and one can start imagining what a ride this can be, being such a long track. Indeed Sleep is not a representative name for this song. About a third of the song in, they do a nice fade out and introduce a new section, opening without the drums, with the Max on the guitar providing the basis for Jackie to experiment a bit with her electric cello. A psychedelic segment, where Sleep seems a more appropriate title for (but boring it is not, unless you dislike such texture building), it even reminds me of Pink Floyd's middle segments in Echoes and Atom Heart Mother where the bands creates bizarre and unearthly sounds. The band resumes the main theme about 6 minutes later, first quietly and then burst out (still slowly though), heavy, thumping sludgy-like with Jackie singing "Don't close your eyes, don't go to sleep", and later on they pick on a more rhythmic pace, as if trying to prevent the listener from falling asleep by making more "noise". One particular thing that caught me in their first album was the magnificent melodies and vocal lines. This is also present here and the most notable example for me is in the song, Love Is (A Dream), where their voices are digitally morphed as they sing the wonderful chorus line.

The album ends with a quite upbeat, bouncy and fast song, the title track, This Grand Show Is Eternal. Clocking at a bit more than 5 minutes, this relatively short song, like the opener, gathers inside a pack of energy and several ideas inside a limited frame and is the most intense song in here.

This album seems to focus as much on creating haunting textures as it is on evoking emotions through the use of catchy and beautiful melodies. In this aspect, it is another step forward from the previous album, going more in the direction of harnessing the power of their instruments combined to create a new fused sound of this lineup of three.

Like the first album, this album, much like a good wine, needs to time to breathe in the open, to be listened to several times and to get absorbed in your hearing buds. For those who know the band, it will be quicker to do so. If you're new to the band, I suggest starting with their wonderful 2007 s/t effort, released on Vendlus Records and then move on to this one. If you know and loved that first album, don't hesitate and get this! Bottom line - Grayceon delivers another stunning album.

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 Grayceon by GRAYCEON album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.73 | 38 ratings

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Grayceon
Grayceon Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Moatilliatta
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Somebody get these guys money and a bass player ASAP!

Grayceon is an extremely promising band; they have a unique sound - you'll hear a fresh take on post- metal that is more energetic and, strangely so, stylistically closer to King Crimson than Isis most of the time - and a bunch of great ideas/riffs. The cello/guitar interplay is very competent and tasteful and the drumming is powerful. But what is the deal with this band's lack of a bass player? Bass is an integral part of music, rock music especially. The guitar isn't deep enough to carry the low end when the cello is playing a lead part, the bowed cello can't lock into a groove with the drums when the guitar is playing lead, and certainly nothing will be able to carry the low end when the guitar and cello are playing together. The music has an overall quality, but it just feels like there is something missing most of the time. The worst case is when the group forays into the metallic side of their work. The instruments are tuned down, but deep distorted power chords are never a good supplement for the clean single-note punches delivered by the bass (unless there are layers of the and/or the guitars have 8 strings like Meshuggah). And from what I've heard, they aren't even looking for a bass player! This means one of thwo things: either they are obstinately refusing to have a bass in their group for some reason, be it that they want to experiment with this guitar/cello/drum trio set-up, they are just trying to be different, or something else (regardless, I'll have to disagree with their motives), or their personalities are just so repulsive that they can't get one to join them (which I would find hard to believe, not to mention that I would not pass such negative judgement on them without having met). I'm pretty bent on the bass here, but it's possible that a different instrument might work out as well.

The next issue is recording quality. It is poor. The mix is a little muddy, and the sound is too raw and simply isn't thick enough. Now that will bring me back to the bass issue again, but I shall not restate myself. What I will say, though, is that they might even want to consider recording multiple guitar and/or cello tracks strictly to carry the would-be bass duties. They can probably make due without a bassist live, but in the studio, something needs to be there. I'm not sure if the group wanted to sound so raw and unadulterated, if you will, but frankly, technological aid really helps make an album shine. You can tell nothing [noticeable] was done to the vocals. I don't even think they added any reverb. The guy/girl vocal combos are almost always a delight, and here is no exception, but there are pitch issues that went uncorrected and the vocals have no color. They are pretty dull. The melodies themselves were well-written, but the performance leaves more to be desired. Maybe they realized this and that's why the vocal tracks aren't on top of the music in the mix, which is generally a big no-no. I know that this is a budget issue though. They are a new band on an independent label. Of course I can't hold that against them, but lets face it, a well-produced album of comparable quality will be the one that you choose to listen to a majority of the time.

I wish I had more specific postives to note, but I can't pinpoint any portions of the album where the band rises to near-glorious peaks. You can blame that on my not having listened to this enough to know exactly, but unfortunately the ever-present weaknesses of this album have formed a tough, thick membrane around the strengths which I have not the desire nor willpower to penetrate to fully discover. But don't get me wrong, as negative as this review is, the album is not bad. As I stated earlier, this band is reeking of potential, and I am making the choice to wait on the unlocking of that potential before I start listening to this band, and I am going to recommend the same choice to everyone. Don't forget about this band completely, but don't bother too much with them right now. I do think this band should get picked up by a decent label so that they can afford to make the album that I know they are capable of making; this band will sell well in the prog/post/metal markets!

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