Monday, December 10, 2007

Review: Grayceon

Label: Vendlus Records

Released: February 14, 2007

Prog rock's faults aren't usually related to technical skill at any stage of the process, from writing to playing to producing. In fact, the genre's greatest difficulty stems from its artists being too good, too musical. Prog bands have a tendency to lose the emotional connection with their audience that is essential in rock n roll. Sure, some bands were successful in incorporating pop elements and others just dummied everything down to nothing more than a grandiose version of pop, but so many of them still had that problem with emotion.

Grayceon is not purely a prog band, but their music, a successful amalgamation of metal, punk, classical and folk (particularly of the Eastern European variety), is complex enough to at least overlap significantly with prog. What Grayceon does that so often eluded even the top bands in rock's most complex genre is to simply connect with listeners. While prog plays at its audience, Grayceon plays too them. Their music, despite being the work of a trio, is every bit as complex, but it remains in a raw, emotive form than envelops rather than alienates the listener. Cello might not be a standard rock instrument, but it never feels like a novelty on this album. It's smooth lines are often juxtaposed with heavy, plodding guitar and wild percussion. Instead of taking those elements and streamlining them into a neat package, Grayceon allows them to remain loose and raw, giving the music both a chaos and freedom that feels more like a reflection of life than an esoteric musical exercise.

Grayceon's appeal is two-fold. First, their musicianship is so strong that their possibilities have few boundaries and second, they still play music that is very human and easy to take to heart. If that's not enough, this four track album has songs of 12 1/2 and 20 minutes in length and neither gets tedious even for a second. Few bands can say that whether they dabble in prog rock or not.

Rating: 8/10



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Blogger taotechuck said...

Prog could use more loose and raw. I've come to hate the genre even more than I hate metal, but I've got to admit that your review has piqued my interest.

6:40 PM  
Blogger taotechuck said...

Wow. If Yngwie played drums, he'd be like this guy. I can't even get through it because I just hear blecka-blecka-blecka boom crash ta-da-dum ta-da-dum BOOM BOOM whackadewhackadewhacka (etc.) Jesus, dude, shut up already.

Oh, and I don't care how much they try to bury the vocals in the mix, the singers aren't so hot.

11:04 AM  

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