Racebannon
In the Grips of the Light


5.0
classic

Review

by Matthew D. French USER (50 Reviews)
June 27th, 2010 | 38 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the greatest avant-garde noise/post-hardcore albums you've never heard.

Post-hardcore is an eclectic genre, spanning several contrasting ideas and musical motifs. Contrary to popular belief, it has a lot more to offer than many other genres. Take any number of bands and compare them and the picture becomes clear, the majority sound contrasting to one another. From Trophy Scars to At the Drive-In to HORSE the band to Glassjaw and so on, and so forth, a distinction in sound can be determined by even the untrained ear. Racebannon's In the Grips of the Daylight, an album from the former half of the previous decade sees the genre at its most divergent, and easily sets itself apart from other contemporary artists. I proudly advocate that the more emotionally harrowing an album, the deeper the meaning. In the Grips of the Light is laden with recurring motifs of despondence, which is to say that its sentiments hit home, for me.

Now, I had meant that to be more or less a statement as to how different they are from other bands within the genre. An artist's genre in today's culture can be completely off-putting to someone else based around stereotypes alone, and it's a shame, because the genre can range from epic screamo -Circle Takes The Square to the delectably soother side of narrative from Trophy Scars latest release. If I had to pick a subset of their sound governing their overall sound, I would say they fit most easily into noise rock, with an aggressive edge. Somewhat of an anomaly in that they're more explicitly hardcore, whilst paying homage to noise rock (Electricity) and other various genres.

The latter half of songs here are noise-laden and dissonant, at times. Perplexing are songs like "Clubber Lang" and "Electricity with their odd shifts in atmosphere. The former starts off rather typically, and seems conventional with shriek-screams and brooding aesthetic, but spontaneously shifts into a demented carnival-esque track with vocal accompaniments weaving "oh, oh, oh, la, la, la, la" in and out. Electricity is actually a cover of Captain Beefheart's version and the song I happened upon 8 years ago, marking my first foray into the post-hardcore realm. It almost fits an electrical motif, credited to its energy and production. This song is one of two great departures of sound on the album (the other being the final track), and is fun and upbeat. The guitars have a sharp twang sound about them, and the bass, thankfully prominent, adds melodic elements throughout.

However, the real kicker is the anything but fun and melodic-I'm Yr Egomaniac, a contemptuous song driven by concept and passion. Despite what many will criticize for being the detractor for this band and this particular song (the vocals), lead vocalist Mike Anderson asserts himself well, conveying hate and resentment with his tone; freneticism and schizophrenia personified. The lyrics, deep and introspective can be determined and viewed from several perspectives when attempting to transcribe. "She’s spawned of the image as if she’s an important state of rock’n roll while you and I know it’s a pathetic phase set on stage, overacted to the full knowledge of the audience. They ought to rinse her of her glory so others can feel the glory too. But powers and pulls never last so I’ll try to stay moving on alongside the rest of you." Seemingly a stab at contemporary artists and the spiraling ignorance for which they find themselves consumed with, and the exasperation of being outspoken; needing to conform (moving on alongside the rest of you) ignorantly with it (ironic.) This sees a departure in sound throughout the album that marks the most experimental section. Mike Anderson's vocals play along through eerie synths and interesting subtle background noise, taking advantage of its atmosphere to showcase his prowess. It sounds more like a scathing statement than anything, kind of akin to Converge's You Fail Me (song), in theme and tone. Mike Anderson sounds worried, confused, angry, curious and more all from seamless second-to-second transitions, making this the best thing Racebannon have put their name to.


In summation, Racebannon are just plain ***ing weird. There seems to be enough of everything here to please everyone, even if it's to a minimal extent. In the Grips of the Light is convoluted and emits an assault on the senses, in a good way, for those who relate. Everything is here, from the twangy guitars and reverberating effects, to the bubbly, and sometimes brooding bass lines, to the stylistic vocals- rolling of the tongue, screams, shrieks, moans, spoken word, chaotic laughs, subdued harmonies etc. Not just a masterpiece within the genre, for me it's nostalgic (a little freaky, considering I was at such a young and tender age when first hearing this.)

Matt recommends

Go With the Flow
Sober and Sad
Electricity
I'm Yr Egomaniac



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user ratings (13)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Enotron
June 27th 2010


7695 Comments


crazy good review man, will most definitely be checking this out

Gyromania
June 27th 2010


15706 Comments


This isn't going to get any comments as no one's ever heard of it before. Some quick things: I wrote this up fairly quickly and have been inactive with reviewing since dec of 2009, so I'd appreciate a little constructive criticism, and lastly, there are likely typo's/formatting issues that I'll pick out when I'm not so tired.

SeaAnemone
June 27th 2010


20304 Comments


but the question is, is it better than Emery?


but yeah, cool stuff... sounds like I should get on this

Digging: Holy Sons - Lost Decade II

Gyromania
June 27th 2010


15706 Comments


Thanks, Eno, much appreciated =] My biggest fear with writing this is that, while it's not known on sputnik, it wouldn't get much attention... I'm hoping to start a trend!

Eric: Thanks, and yes you should definitely pick this up, although I doubt you'll ever find a copy online, it took me ages.

If anyone wants me to send this to them, i'll gladly do it through AIM- Eeriatarkaa

Gyromania
June 27th 2010


15706 Comments


Okay

Gyromania
June 27th 2010


15706 Comments


but the question is, is it better than Emery?

Is anything better than Emery?

Fugue
June 27th 2010


7353 Comments


Awesome review man, top job. I liked the tracks you sent me so if you send me the rest that'd be cool.

Gyromania
June 27th 2010


15706 Comments


Thanks guys! Mj- check this out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAEt1iBbbK0
Ross- Will do buddy, I'm glad you enjoyed the review.

Fugue
June 27th 2010


7353 Comments


Pos'd btw.

Gyromania
June 27th 2010


15706 Comments


Lol, thank ya, Rossy :P

porch
June 27th 2010


8460 Comments


cool review, gonna bump it for you cos reviews of slightly obscure albums deserve all the help they can get

LG
June 27th 2010


3049 Comments


Nothing is better than Hanson

Gyromania
June 27th 2010


15706 Comments


Thanks boca. It's a shame that no one's heard of this.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2010


20857 Comments


Matt, now I recall why I felt it was a mystery why you have not written more reviews. Seriously, a great piece of writing here. Definitely worthy of a pos.

You cover pretty much everything, it's detailed, structured, easy to read & a nice length. There really is not much more to say.

(Insert comedic comment about Emery, R.O.C & your summary).

accompliceofmydeath
June 27th 2010


4215 Comments


Band rules. I don't have any of their stuff but, I've heard it before and it's great.

Digging: The Swarm - Parasitic Skies

Spare
June 28th 2010


5306 Comments


album looks real good, review is ballin

Digging: Best Witches - Wishes

Gyromania
June 28th 2010


15706 Comments


Davey- you just made my night =] thanks a lot, dude.
I'm glad to see that someone knows about this band, accomplice. Spare, you'd like this.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
June 28th 2010


20857 Comments


No probs Matt. Well-deserved.

I'm sure Emery is better though! ;-)

Gyromania
June 28th 2010


15706 Comments


I still love Emery, but yeah this album is really dark, not something you'd enjoy.

Spare
December 31st 2010


5306 Comments


satan's kickin' yr dick in is the only album i could find by this band and it's fucking awesome. can't find this one, any chance of somebody helping out?



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