Weaving a blend of alternative and progressive metal with numerous flavoursome additives, Russian band Gramar provide a very healthy invitation to explore their depths with new EP Oskolki Veri. Translating as Pieces of faith, the four track release is a fascinating and skilled expanse of sound and enterprise. It is not an encounter to set a fire in the belly but certainly one to spark a keen appetite to explore more.
The Chelyabinsk hailing Gramar was formed in 2010 by guitarist and songwriter arranger Ilya Sokolov. Soon joined by drummer Ivan Salo, the pair making the spine of the band since, the band released the well-received Existential quantifier EP in 2013. A change in line-up occurred between the last and new release, the latter now unleashed following the band signing with GlobMetal Promotions earlier this year. It is an attention asking and receiving proposition which captures the imagination from its opening minute.
Нет прощения (No forgiveness) embraces ears first, electronic coaxing with crystalline radiance gliding around the firmer rhythms and provocative melodic textures. It is potent start which only increases its impressive presence as riffs and grooves aligned themselves to symphonic breezes from the keys and strong vocals. It is a captivating offering which even with the narrative sung in Russian hints resourcefully at the lyrical and emotional intent of the song, though it is frustrating to not know more admittedly. More a kaleidoscope of sound than a maelstrom, the track swirls around senses and imagination with a fluid blaze of inventive and gripping ideation.
The impressive start is followed by Время потерь (Time of losses) which again instantly brings a symphonic metal whisper to its otherwise rugged entrance. It is soon rolling out an anthemic rhythmic bait which itself is quickly joined by equally evocative melodies from the guitars and expressive vocals, both adding enticing hues to the emerging landscape of sound and creativity flowing through the song. The track continues to spark with twists of melodic and progressive rock whilst entwining industrial and electronic intrigue in its fully coloured enticement for body and thoughts.
The melancholic drama of Крылья печали (Wings of sadness) comes next, its shimmering sonic climate an intriguing breath over the fiery scenery of aggressive riffery and similarly imposing rhythms. Gramar again show they are well equipped to merge dark and light, fierce and mellow textures to great and persuasive effect to cast a bewitching encounter. Like the release it does not set a fire raging but firmly grips an awakened appetite urging another strain of hunger for its presence to escape.
The release closes with Ложь (Lies), it like its predecessor a slower prowl initially before firing up an intensive web of riffs and rhythmic incitement, the bass especially vocal and compelling within the song. The most predatory track on the EP, it proceeds to intimidate ears with antagonistic riffs and bass voracity whilst seducing them with melodic ideation and sonic adventure. As the whole release, it is an enthralling protagonist which is maybe missing a spark or two to set the passions ablaze but has plenty to keep imagination and eager interest firmly latched on to the band.
Russia has unveiled some striking and potential drenched bands over the past couple of years, its underground ripe with potent emerging bands, and to that list you can firmly add Gramar.
The Oskolki Veri EP is available now
RingMaster Review 12/09/2014
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