Is it possible that one drummer, any drummer, could feel limited in a band like Slayer? Could it be that any guy who had performed that drumming in “Reign in Blood”, “South of Heaven” and “Seasons in the Abyss” would feel that he had not yet reached his full potential?. Yes, Dave Lombardo claimed that, among others, one of the main reasons he wanted to quit Slayer, was to try something different, something that would help him get even closer to his potential. So, after his departure from Slayer, Dave Lombardo played in a band named Voodoocult, in 1993, where he met guitarist – producer Waldemar Sorychta , and decided to form Grip Inc. They recruited bassist Jason Viebrooks and former punk-rocker Gus Chambers as the lead singer and two years later they released their debut album, “Power of Inner Strength”, via Metal Blade records.
“Power of inner Strength” will remind you of a less sinister Slayer indeed, as it was expected, but it also brings to mind a heavier, and more complex (in terms of song structure) edition of Prong, or Helmet. Which means that “Power of Inner Strength” is an album dominated both by high speed thrash assaults, but also (and probably more often) by bouncing, massive grooves. While the impressive “Hostage to heaven” is fast, furious and lyrically hostile to religion, songs like the band’s biggest hit “Ostracized” and “Savage Seas” are precursors of what would eventually become the heaviest side of nu-metal (or groove metal as it is today known). In tracks like “Colors of Death” Grip Inc. shift towards a more atmospheric sound, and generally the band does its utmost to sound as multidimensional as possible.
In order to accomplish that sound, the band is led by Dave Lombardo, whose talent in creating rhythms is crucial. His drumming is very rich here; not only does he play some of the fastest drum parts of his career (check the double kicks in “Hostage to Heaven”), he also adds tribal rhythms (“Toque de Muerto”) and grooves (“Ostracized”) that make the record much more interesting and easy to listen from start to finish. Waldemar Sorychta is an excellent guitar player and that is obvious both in his riffs and his solos, where one can hear his flamengo influences. And then, there is Gus Chambers’ crushing voice, dressed up with his social or political lyrics, which would be Grip Inc’ s most impressive aspect if it wasn’t for Dave Lombardo.
Grip Inc. were associated in the beginning of their career with bands like Machine Head or “Chaos A.D.”-era Sepultura because of their innovative sound and the modern way they approached thrash. They didn’t become equally famous, and to be honest their fame seems to reside in the fact that it was Dave Lombardo’s main band for a while. This of course doesn’t change the fact that “Power of Inner Strength” together with their next effort “Nemesis” was a refreshing glimmer of hope in thrash metal’s toughest moments.