Sunday, July 8, 2012
Sunday Sludge: Grizzly - "Fear My Wrath"
There's a feeling that pokes the pit of your stomach. It sputters somewhere between fear and excitement while the better judgment telling you to turn toward home is smashed with curiosity's brick. This is how people get themselves into pretty deep shit. This is how every horror film starts. This is how every Gacy and Dahmer victim began their trip to hell. This is how I fell in love with Budapest's Grizzly.
Despite the aggressive tones and jaded moods we frequently enjoy on these sludge Sundays, we're rarely met with material this overtly homicidal and self-satisfied. Lyrics can be oft-considered sludge's afterthought, shouted or muffled or buried in brilliant rotting moss. Grizzly's vocal delivery on Fear My Wrath perfectly ensnares listeners by snagging a fish hook in your lip, rubbing your skin raw with sandpaper, and leaving spit-trails of hostility dripping from your hair.
Grizzly waste absolutely no time in asserting their dominance on The Cultist. The shit-caked aggression is unmatched, the energy is ruggedly intense, and the in-your-face approach is as exhilarating as it is intimidating. Blistered pacing is hardly curbed by the low-slung drag over wet gravel, but the break into spooky, moody stoner-weaves and bobs appears second-nature to these hungry Hungarians. Dump glass into your morning coffee and find the day's mood.
Stabbed Beast fails to break the jackrabbit sludge hum, sounding like a predatory savage gnarled with mange. Grime cracks long enough for cool bass to hover on mud-puddle drum-pissings. Rhythms stay low and loose and guitars are allowed out of their cage before squeezing and choking the filthy fuckin' burnouts.
Pay attention to Dead for Fifty-Two Hours. Sure, Grizzly slow to a bass thump and zoom on weird shit that only happens "in the next room." But the elemental tributaries saunter in and the gradual build-up can only be held for so long. The dam breaks, and a choppy malignance actually highlights a murderer's perspective. This stoner-sludge nightmare rolls into a rain-soaked, siren-bled Kentucky morning. One dead, one guilty. Maybe we shouldn't try to make sense of this.
A return to the wooded clusters is the riff-drenched Fading Out. Stoners can roll as sludge-lovers drag their armpits across a bed of hot tar. Cool licks punctuate rhythmic shifts, and it's easy to imagine your name being toasted as Grizzly knock out your chipped teeth. Those same licks juxtapose the crunchy bass lines, and this band has climbed into your brain and pitched a stained, makeshift tent.
Outlining the life and trials of a fucking mess of a man, The Guilt sounds downright evil. Grizzly return to their use of the pensive pause, effectively. Imagine yourself sitting in the ditch, holding that knife, breathing heavily... Take an existential inventory and let me know if you have trouble identifying with these guys. Riffs are balanced and perfectly-executed when the skyshots don't steal the marquee, but the grind leaves the track brilliantly half-buried.
Dagon closes this 20-minute mindfuck of an album, chopping with low-slung, buzzing sludge. Riffs crunch under your nails as you claw at loose tree bark. Smell that sweat, taste your own blood, and don't dare laugh at the coveralls. Grizzly's vocal is at its most-effective here as the track builds toward the crunch and chop of the album's closing moment. This one's gonna rattle your head for a while.
It's difficult to fully demonstrate how much you love an album without explicitly stating you love an album. Fear My Wrath is as intense, heavy, and well-paced as anything I've heard this year. The disc's brutality is confident and disturbingly honest, while the musicianship demonstrates a nod to varied styles. Consistent across these six tracks is the perfect, formidable tandem of stoner rock and sludge metal. The transitions are as smooth or as rough as they absolutely should be, while the album's consistent, violent promises are delivered. Grizzly needs a sparring partner. Lace up, puss.