Review Summary: A mind-crushing experience.
Well, if this isn’t one of the most mind-boggling records I’ve ever listened to. Grave Babies is a very mysterious band from Seattle who there isn’t all that much information about on the internet. They have a post-punk sound, but with infinitely crushing layers of lo-fi ear razors added on. This is their second album after 2009’s Deathface, which I have never listened to. So, with this album, Grave Babies offer a record full of songs as catchy as the offerings on Wire’s Pink Flag, but with vocals and production that bring them straight from hell. The production on this album can feel like it’s falling apart, or sometimes reaching through your headphones to scrape nails against your eardrums. Almost every song seems too loud for the microphones that recorded it. There’s a sort ol clipping effect that makes the album feel incredibly raw, and almost painful. It adds something interesting, but can reach levels of ear-grating destruction. The vocals are another very distinct thing about this record. Almost always singer Danny Wahlfeldt’s voice is layered over itself, and his voice is already deep and booming. After there are several more of him singing it creates an effect that a chorus of demon men is singing, and it is elevated further on the tracks where the band truly seems to lose their minds. On “Blood on the Face”, the instrumentation loses any sanity and Danny starts saying the title repeatedly and getting more and more distressed each time, as if he’s haunted by a spirit that permanently rains blood on him. However, there is a lighter side to this album. Songs like “Over and Under Ground” are fantastically melodic, even as every sound crackles and snaps with the lo-fi rumbling. This certainly will be a strange first listen, and the only thing that is certain is that it is very intriguing. Recommended for fans of The Jesus and Mary Chain, Throbbing Gristle, The Cure.