GRAYCEON
Progressive Metal • United States

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Grayceon pulls together an extremely diverse range of musical influences and writing styles to create a fresh sound that defies the boundaries of the metal/rock/progressive genres. Compared to Opeth, King Crimson, and Ved Buens Ende, not in sound but in 'feel', Grayceon embraces the hard-to-describe-them definition and expects no hard comparisons to be made any time soon.

Alternate low tuning on both cello and guitar, finger picked metal riffs, dreamy double vocals, and unpredictably impeccable drumming all meet to give Grayceon their unique sensibility.

http://grayceon.bandcamp.com/
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All We DestroyAll We Destroy
Profound Lore 2011
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This Grand ShowThis Grand Show
Import
Vendlus Records 2008
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.. Album Cover 4.08 | 3 ratings
Grayceon
Progressive Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 4.04 | 3 ratings
This Grand Show
Progressive Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 4.09 | 11 ratings
All We Destroy
Progressive Metal 2011

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.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Grayceon/Giant Squid split 7"
Progressive Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Pearl and the End of Days
Progressive Metal 2013

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.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Untitled
Progressive Metal 2006

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GRAYCEON Reviews

GRAYCEON All We Destroy

Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
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bartosso
Hello, this is cello

Chamber metal. Hah, perfect name for the 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 ||

GRAYCEON All We Destroy

Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
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Conor Fynes
'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.

GRAYCEON All We Destroy

Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Phonebook Eater
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.

GRAYCEON All We Destroy

Album · 2011 · Progressive Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Negoba
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.

GRAYCEON Grayceon

Album · 2007 · Progressive Metal
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avestin
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.

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