Jeromes Dream
The Gray In Between


5.0
classic

Review

by Brendan Schroer STAFF
May 10th, 2023 | 206 replies


Release Date: 05/05/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: What's left for me, as I wait for the rest of the world to change?

In the year of our lord 2023, the boys in Jeromes Dream are out for blood. Largely abandoning the dull vocal inflections and questionable songwriting choices of their 2019 comeback album LP, the Connecticut screamo legends have returned to the elements that made Seeing Means More Than Safety such an electrifying debut. On The Gray in Between, we’re treated to 24 minutes of carnage: gutwrenching screams, knotty rhythms, punishing riffs, noisy textures, the works. But I don’t want to give the impression that Jeromes Dream are simply treading old ground here, as they’ve clearly added a few new tricks to their arsenal. A more accurate assessment I can give of The Gray in Between is that they took the aspects of their previous offering that did work - namely, the increased emphasis on melody and atmosphere - and incorporated them into their original style. The result is a record that near-perfectly treads the line between familiar and fresh.

Of course, the band’s trademark intensity is still here in full force. Opener “Conversations: In Time, On Mute” immediately kicks down the door with furious blasts of discordant guitar - played by newcomer Sean Leary - as longtime vocalist Jeff Smith shreds the fuck out of his vocal cords. With that said, the track also offers a nice balance between this brutality and slower, more contemplative passages; again, a well-forged alloy of the different sounds Jeromes Dream have experimented with thus far. The way The Gray in Between constantly teeters between disgusting ferocity and unsettling melodic sections - often combining the two - is what makes it such an accomplished project; despite how short as these songs are, each one will take you on its own unique journey. This is best demonstrated by songs like “South by Isolation” and closer “The Last Water Pearl”; they start out as relentless, unforgiving barnburners, only for the band to keep peeling the layers back and reveal something more melodious and nuanced.

The Gray in Between also sees Jeromes Dream experimenting more with textures and atmosphere than ever before, and much of this can be attributed to producer Jack Shirley, whose credits include the likes of Joyce Manor and Deafheaven. In fact, this record often has a very Sunbather-ish way of creating interesting, even beautiful, sound palates out of visceral guitar distortion. A perfect display of this is “The Future of Memory”, in which Leary unleashes an array of jazz chords amidst the chaos of the unrelenting rhythm section; the way his caustic guitar tone brings these towering, almost monolithic riffs to life is strangely hopeful and comforting, even with all the surrounding insanity. Yet, at other times, these melodies and textures are intended to create an oppressive feel, such as in the second half of “On Holiday with Infinity”; the usual onslaught gives way to a dark, despondent passage, as the screaming starts to sound even more desperate and strained.

While listening to The Gray in Between - especially for the first time - chances are that you’ll often be lulled into a false sense of security. While most of the tracks still go balls-to-the-wall with their intensity, more attention has been paid to the buildup/payoff relationship here than on any other Jeromes Dream record. “Pines on the Hill” has one of the most unsettling intros I’ve heard in some time, as a dissonant guitar melody slowly creeps through the listener’s skull, and it begs several questions. “When will the song kick off proper, and will it catch me by surprise?” “What craziness is the band about to unleash?” The following track is even more effective, as it doesn’t even go into overdrive AT ALL; “Cosmos in Season” is just a lovely little piano interlude, seeming quite at odds with the rest of the album - especially with another banger like “AAEEAA” right around the corner. But the band’s versatility ensures that everything in the tracklist belongs in its own odd way, and this is where I’d like to briefly mention how incredible Erik Ratensperger’s drum performance is on this thing. The man can blastbeat, he can release a flurry of aggressive hardcore beats, he can slow things down to a doomy crawl, he can add subtle touches to the quieter moments… simply put, his work is essential to this record.

Really though, you can say the same thing about all three of the members featured on The Gray in Between. This album is like the logical conclusion, the logical dead-end of the work Jeromes Dream started with Seeing Means More Than Safety. It shows the band in peak form, retaining their signature extremity while expanding their sound past its usual borders; as a result, fans of each album or era can have their cake and eat it too. Within these 24 minutes is a lesson in how to stay relevant and fresh, yet also true to one’s roots as an extreme act in 2023. It’s hard to know whether or not this will be the band’s swansong - there’s an odd sense of finality about the music itself - but if it is, then they’ll certainly be going out in a blaze of glory.



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user ratings (209)
3.9
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Koris
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2023


21186 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I haven't given a 5 to a new release in quite some time, but this one honestly felt right. Phenomenal stuff

Supercoolguy64
May 11th 2023


11794 Comments


ain’t no way this a 5

Ryus
May 11th 2023


37017 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

basically a 5 agreed

pizzamachine
May 11th 2023


27283 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Holy 5 god damn wtf oh shit

Ryus
May 11th 2023


37017 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

best band ever

cant stop playing this

Koris
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2023


21186 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I know my rating won't be popular with everyone here (especially a certain staffer who has yet to comment), but I honestly loved every single minute of this

90m80s
May 11th 2023


1523 Comments


those liturgy soundin guitars sure are showin up in the darndest places. not the worst album i ever heard. glad yall are lovin it.

Ryus
May 11th 2023


37017 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

uhh interesting comparison





rc239
May 11th 2023


402 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

don't have much to add to this conversation other than to say how much I love this album. would love for them to re-record LP too tbh

Deez
May 11th 2023


10330 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First JD thats ever clicked with me

Ryus
May 11th 2023


37017 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

damn. i mean this is a really different sound so i get it, but "seeing means more than safety" is a classic

Deez
May 11th 2023


10330 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ill give it another go yo

calmrose
May 11th 2023


6833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

more like The Five In Between amirite

Koris
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2023


21186 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^ I see what you did there ;]

unclereich
May 11th 2023


12096 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

:3

Koris
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2023


21186 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

;D



nice 5, br0ther

Space Jester
May 11th 2023


11038 Comments


This is pretty cool, better than LP def but it ain’t gonna match their first two. Glad they’re still around and kicking tho

unclereich
May 11th 2023


12096 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

nice to see space jester's avatar still works

Musefan58867
May 11th 2023


122 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is amazing. The robot vox made it hard for me to appreciate aspects of LP and Presents so hearing Bristles II and this return to the screams while getting simultaneously noisier and more melodic is everything I wanted from a new Jeromes dream album. I love this so fuckin much

YakNips
May 11th 2023


20100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. Still sounds like Loma Prieta



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