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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Sludge: Grizzly - "Rapturous Decay"

For all the early-morning fog, sweet-spiced coffees, and open-mouthed gazes toward changing colors, there's also plenty I never trusted about the autumn shift. Something seems underhanded and sinister to the point of my guard lifting. And to be fair, that's why it's so great. But don't you get tired of everyone saying they love fall?

Two years ago, we introduced ourselves to Budapest's sludge-n'-rollers Grizzly, an overtly violent quintet of pissed-off stoners committed to unleashing hot, gnarling malevolence on unsuspecting lemmings. Their six-track Fear My Wrath stayed on my radar through year's end, cemented as one of the year's best, as I saw it.

With their follow-up, the band adopt autumn's roundabout, nuanced administration of subversion. Rapturous Decay offers a rollicking half-dozen meaty slabs of hate, masked in groove and caked with steaming shit. Grizzly have discovered an element of patience, making their toxic blend of Southern stoner-sludge all the more dangerous. Monolith opens markedly more subdued than The Cultist, rolling smoothly until Grizzly find their fangs. The track is coated and self-assured, so perhaps the mere threat of lurking evil is even more effective than a blade in your nostril. Slick resin, buoyant rhythms... The boys are back.

Pass Those Pills follows with effective pregnant pauses that heighten anxiety. This cool roll in the hay dizzies as it soaks, and the head-shaking search for answers proves this band is maturing. Bluesy lament and self-realization were never expected. Ride Along is more upbeat, not giving two shits about spilling. The trademark middle finger is back, kept greasy via Knapp's grimy pipes. They're still Grizzly; nothing ever shines for long.

Serving as a harbinger of evil, The Silver Key is fucking fed up. This chugger rolls slow and gathers momentum, churning and flattening with unhinged riffs. What follows on the closing tandem, however, pairs nine minutes of beer-swiggin' bar blues and a potent wall-to-wall stagger. Rapturous Decay Pt 1 is all-inclusive, no less dynamic given the muted aggression. Sitting dockside with a harmonica, an empty bottle, and more than a few rough thoughts, we're hardly prepared for what's hovering and taking shape above. Part 2's stoner foundation is spiked with roaring rants, promising Grizzly's lack of regard for consequence. Calm nods and long breaths briefly deceive us until the shakes return. Tension grows, coils tighten... These guys are gonna snap. One slam after another and we're spent.

Grizzly's swampy stoner roots remain intact, and the intentions still ice the spine. So the band found their own fog in the form of cool plucks to ease the burn. We're given time to be frightened, questioning all around us. We get stuck in the mud, we scratch for branches, and we briefly believe we've found a foothold for a fighting chance. Nope. Turns out the murderous Hungarians are still pissed. And hungry. And breathing on your neck.

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