Review Summary: Good Grief!
"Buzzing in my ear - like a fly around my head", are the all-too ironic words in the track "Nuisance". Two years after releasing the earth-shattering "Come To Grief", the legendary doom outfit rehashes the same angry story. Honestly, aside from the angry, straight-forward style they embossed for themselves with the former release, there was nothing much to their music other than dragging purposefully obnoxious, open-jam-esque, sludgy, monotonous, trashy, rebellious/lethargic tempo, complaining, dastardly tunes. The feeling you just got from reading that overly descriptive, entrapment of a sentence, is the same vibe you will get from straining your ears to "Miserably Ever After". Headbanging just got tedious.
Before I get pummeled with protests from die-hard doom-heads, lend me your beat-up ears. As much as I enjoy aggressive - to the point of uneasy- listening, I draw the line when it becomes detrimental to my judgmental integrity. As difficult as it is to create a unique down-tempo sound, there are plenty of groups out there making better strides. All this said, I do still respect Grief for being one of the first bands to turn down the tempo despite their hardcore-punk scoffing neighbors.
Now, to explain my reasoning behind finding this album to be entirely too dragging. At a slow, but not slow enough pace, the mood becomes annoying soon after the raw intensity wears off. The biggest problem here is the guitar chords stay in a region of lackadaisical effort and fail to reach beyond a few changes. The drums barely show any enthusiasm and lazily carry the band to a noteworthy point. Vocal range is unheard of in this album, quite literally, except for the stand-out track- "I Hate The Human Race", which features another vocalist to compete with the furious shrieks of the front-man. Adding some depth, the layering is one of the high points on the album.
Feedback and single-note droning (i.e. the beginning of "Trust") works in their favor to bring another level of "unconsciousness", but is hardly flaunted throughout. A respectable cover of Saint Vitus' "Angry Man" is done justice and displays flexibility for Grief. While listening to this album, the mood suddenly becomes dreary and puts the listener in a corridor of seemingly endless audio torment. Shockingly, the lyrics are actually a bit more encouraging than "Come To Grief", and deal with focusing your hate on the right things. Putting on an almost Existentialist theme though, mockingly screamed in the track “Straight Edge-Closed Mind” are the words- “Never again" - You're lying to yourself, It's a vicious circle: It won't be long before my time is gone, Engulfed by booze, It's the path I choose”. And although mostly unbearably drab, the beats and riffs flare up at times to keep the album alive and provide means to head-bang anew.
Is Grief essential for any doom - or metal in general- fanatic? Probably. Is this album a must have for the collection or frequent listen? No. Come to Grief will forever remain an ear opener, but this will fall where it may- into a pit of despair where most of band's ideals lie around, which in the end got the worst of them and strangled the creativity from them.
Slightly more diverse than "Come To Grief"
True angry music
A release from a legendary doom group
Super difficult to get through
Lack of creativity