This album has very quickly leaped into my favourite albums list. Not the typical progressive metal, so don't be deterred. Read on to know more.
It is thanks to Ruben (Chamberry) that I got to know this band. Listening to their Mysapce samples, I ordered it through The End Records mail order service (The Omega Mail Order) along with their friends and tour mates (and a band that Jackie played with) Giant Squid (look for their band here in PA).
I wish there was something different I could listen to, something to have my brain listen to and get away from all the ruckus of everyday life, the stress and anxieties and drift upwards to some other place. Thankfully, there are bands like Grayceon to help us achieve just that. Obviously there are other great bands that do just that (and I have several favourite bands which so just that), but with Grayceon I get a different experience, a combination of elements from various sounds/influences/sources to create a sound of their own, a marriage of rawness and subtleness, compositions that have freedom to evolve in several directions.
Only 3 musicians here, yet the music in this album is full, rich, filled with a vast array of emotions, delivering mesmerizing musical textures which are at times aggressive and raw and at other times soft and delicate. Grayceon is a talented trio of Jackie Perez Gratz (electric cello, vocals), Zack Farwell (drums) and Max Doyle (guitars, vocals). 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 it's a difficult task to describe their music. It can be said that it draws influences from several sources/bands, but their sound is all their own.
While only containing four tracks, tracks 1, 3 & 4 are rather lengthy and track 4 can even be considered an epic in length and structure of the track. Track 2 is sort of the antithesis of those other three songs, but it is still very much in line with the album, albeit much heavier, more aggressive and rapid. The other three tracks have a more dominant contemplative spirit, which doesn't mean it does not get much more energetic throughout the song.
Grayceon offers appealing flavours for different and varying tastes. Some post-rock textures, some sludgy-metal (but of a lighter flavor than others in this field), some good old crunchy riffs of metal (with the occasional drum beat that remind me of the heavier side 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 and vocal harmonies, alternating between a soft sound to a rapid and even raw sounding part in which the drums go wild.
With the tracks in this s/t album, you go on a "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). The songs, except for Song For You, start off calmly, with the guitar acoustically feeling the surface, as if testing whether the area is clear and it can begin to get louder, playing seemingly unrelated notes, trying to formulate a tune. And as you listen to the album more times, you realize that it is all pre-thought of, and they pretty much know where they are going, and that these are not totally random played notes, and they lead the way to the main theme or themes (as happens in Ride and Into The Deep). It develops (mostly slowly) into the bigger picture (meaning the main theme of the music) with big emphasis on the melody and the vocals which accompany it at times. This is where the majestic touch is prevalent. If you take Into The Deep, what can be seen as the chorus part is made of the guitar and cello playing together an ascending repetitive pattern later followed by Jackie's high and delicate voice in a descending pattern that balances the previous part. The guitar has a Crimsonian (as in King Crimson) sound and style here (Red-era) as opposed to the more metallic sound in other parts. I must say this description does not do justice with the music, but it's the best I can do with my limited verbal skills (or rather lack of them). While the long 3 tracks have this majestic feel when coming to their occasional chorus, Grayceon has a raw and free spirit feel to them, which are probably due to the 3 instrument lineup, their unique sound. This freedom feel, is one attribute I love about their music. I feel that the music is such that it can develop in multiple ways, play in opposite and contradicting manners and cover a vast array of musical "fields". This is why I am very eager to hear where they will go next in future endeavours. The music goes beyond metal and rock, takes what elements it needs from both and moves on, progresses further. Therefore, the term progressive is most suitable. The end result is compelling, engaging and most of all, beautiful.
The future seems bright for the band, and it is very interesting to hear how their next album will be like. For now, we can rejoice with this excellent release which is more than just an excellent addition to your music and "prog" collection.