Monday, January 19, 2009
Breaking through and getting noticed through the saturation of traditional four on the floor verse-chorus-verse is a tough ask for a lot of bands. Often this is due to genre crowding. Some bands overcome this by intentionally avoiding easy categorization. Others go with non-traditional rock instruments. SF's GRAYCEON take both these approaches. This three piece band forego a bass in favor of an electric cello and incorporate elements of opera, prog-rock, chamber music and metal often within the same track.
The album opener "It Begins, and So It Ends" is an instrumental that crosses metal, due mostly to the tempo changes with mostly metal style drumming, with classical music seem like a natural idea. "Still the Desert" opens with female operatic vocals then veers into metal territory then the circle starts again. There are speed metal riffs here and there but the cello is definitely the lead instrumental. There are some male vocals and background screaming of the type which would be equally at home on a black metal album but these are in the background while the cello and female vocals take the forefront.
"Sleep" challenges those with short attention spans clocking in at 21:17 and starts out as chamber music, then veers into sixties pop before some female and male gothic tinged dual vocals start which for this listener recalls "Burning World" period SWANS. The metal classical mix comes up again and there is a nice trade-off with the guitar before the band go into prog-rock territory with some PINK FLOYD style instrumentation followed up with hypnotic female band whispered male vocals which dare the listener "Don't close your eyes. Don't fall asleep." I didn't but the lullabye quality could easily cause some to nod off. They would then be woken up by the following drumming and some of the guitar work which gives this a song a metallic edge. Once the drumming stops the sound becomes chamber music. "Love(Is a Dream)" has similar vocal styling to its predecessor and there is a beautiful grandiose feeling given to the music with the leads being swapped between the guitar and the cello. Some parts of this song and a lot of GRAYCEON'S music does bring APOCALYPTICA to mind but any other new band that combines metal with classical music would do the same. Album closer "The Ground Show is Eternal" picks up tempo and bounces along nicely with some ENYA type background vocals .
"This Grand Show" is an impressive album that displays the work of a highly creative band. This album has grown on me with repeated listenings. Whether GRAYCEON make inroads with the average rock and metal fan is doubtful however they will reward the listener looking for something out of the ordinary.
This review first at appeared at peacedogman.com
An interview I did with Grayceon can be found here.
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