Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Review: Grayceon - This Grand Show

Label: Vendlus Records

Released: November 11, 2008

Symphonic metal seemed like a good idea, but every time someone gives it a try, we either get Metallica's S&M, where classical is merely superimposed onto metal, or Dragonforce, where we get all the soul (or lack thereof rather) of classical dummied down for the average rock fan. It should work, but it never does.

Now, Grayceon isn't symphonic metal...but they do some of the things symphonic metal should. Sure, there's a cello, but their classical leanings go much further than just a bit of anti-rock instrumentation. Their arrangements, particularly in the 20+ minute "Sleep," draw from everything from the sacred compositions of Bach to modern power metal. What really sets Grayceon apart though is that they don't noodle for the sake of noodling nor do they play for the sake of merely displaying their skills. Their focus is on the music itself. While Jackie Perez Gratz's cello is immediately striking, it is Zack Farwell's drumming that plays the biggest part in the management of This Grand Show's energy. When the music is at its most dirge-like, the drums still go off. When the rest of the band catch up with Farwell, the tension is released and the energy explodes, then everything else tones itself back down and the tension and potential energy build again.

This Grand Show's madness isn't as immediately striking as it was with Grayceon's self-titled album last year, but don't be fooled. They've just gotten a little bit better at it. While you wait to be smacked in the face, they're knocking your feet out from under you and then setting you back up before you even know you've fallen. It's much more subtle, but don't think that means it won't move you.

Satriani: 8/10
Zappa: 7/10
Dylan: 7/10
Aretha: 8/10
Overall: 8/10



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