Grenouer – Unwanted Today

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Russian metallers Grenouer are one of those bands which has been seemingly around for decades, two in fact, and increasingly been looking like they were about to break from relative obscurity into intensive spotlights within world metal through their recent releases. Certainly the Saint Petersburg quartet has been drawing stronger and broader attention over the past few years but still they have yet to make that big step; maybe though that moment has come with the release of new album Unwanted Today. A release bulging with melodic expression, grooved tenacity, and sharp hooks, it also carries a hungry snarl bred in the early days of the band, a combination which goes to make one rather impressive offering from a band surely poised to leap into the wider consciousness of the metal world.

Formed in 1992 by vocalist Andrey Ind and guitarist Alexander Motor, Grenouer has released seven albums to date with the last, Blood on the Face, a thrilling and gripping enticement confirming the creative invention and musical weight of the band for those in the know whilst luring a great flood of new appetites. Again released via Mausoleum Records, Unwanted Today takes its potency into new explorations of imagination and sound. It is not a big departure from or massive leap forward in their already established sound yet there is something fresh and unique at the new album’s heart which gives the release a new voice. Emerging twenty plus years ago, the band was a raw and uncompromising extreme metal proposition, but over time and records, a melodic and alternative metal exploration has evolved and now shows its finest blooms within Unwanted Today.

With its line-up completed by bassist Al Bolo and drummer Danny D, Grenouer works on the imagination right away with brief opener Awake, a cinematic and provocatively atmospheric piece with industrial clangs and suggestiveness courted by floating harmonic vocals. It is an imposingly picturesque lead into the album’s title track, a proposal instantly pouncing on ears with punchy rhythms and growling riffs. This in turn slips into an inviting embrace of gentle melodies within a warm ambience, though even this is courted by the early predacious shadows and sounds which take their turn leading the tempting ears. It is an excellent start to the album, the vocals of Ind as alluring and potent as ever whilst musically the song radiates attitude and seduction.

Things only grow in strength and contagion with the following pair of A Little Too Obsessed and Something Really Bad. The first of the two immediately has attention and appetite GrenouerUnwantedTodayenslaved, bounding in with a heavy stride and an addiction forging groove. It is a hook lingering even in the mellower twists of the song, just waiting to unleash its swagger and tenacious tempting, and always with increasing effect. Embracing essences of groove and nu metal as eagerly as the swing which infests song and listener, the track is modern metal with a nod to a diversity of styles and time, and quite brilliant. It also has a great, almost muggy air to its presence, and a bedlamic edge to its invention which shows its magnetism again in its successor, though maybe not as openly. This is another song which bewitches from its first sonic and vocal caress, and another unafraid to merge abrasing snarls of sound and grouchy basslines into a colourful and fascinating tapestry.

That dark bass toning and attitude also opens up On A Rainy Day next but in the arms of an electronic wrapping and melodic caress; voice, guitar, and keys a seducing contrast to the track’s equally flavoursome dark side. Their union is soaked in an increasing tempestuous air and intensity, one never overpowering what lies within but certainly and enjoyably giving it all a stormy and imposing landscape to colour. It is a similar blend of textures which lights up the rock/pop virulence of Blossoms In The Dust, a riveting croon of a song built on rising crescendos of sound and emotional energies. There is no escaping the mesmeric and creative romance of the song though it is soon eclipsed by the outstanding I Can’t Stand It. Everything about the song gets under the skin. From another bestial bass sound and accompanying stabbing beats to spicy melodies and soaring vocals, but especially in the unpredictable imagination and ingenuity which infects especially the latter two of aspects, the song is a compelling fascination and impossibly infectious.

   Daily Miracles is another primarily instrumental flight through evocative scenery, similar to how the album began and feeding thoughts further before Going To Stay immerses ears in its own individual melodic and emotional emprise of dark and light textures embroiled in a weave of electro rock spicing and ravenous Meshuggah like voracity. Its melodic side reminds of UAE Absolace but, as all tracks, the resulting entwining of flavours only results in an encounter with the familiarity of Grenouer alone.

Album and pleasures only continue to grow and excite as the fiercely enticing Point Of No Return unveils an invigorating maze of melodic and nu-metal equipped with the alternative flair of a Linkin Park, the inventive antagonism of a Mudvayne, and the intensive roar of a Prong. Escape from its claws is impossible as another peak is set in course of the release whilst the next up gentle balladry of Artificial Tears brings a moment to take a breath but not a slip of attentive focus on Unwanted Today. It is fair to say that it did not impact as powerfully as other songs on personal tastes, but reveals yet another side to the songwriting and charm of band sound to further feed a greedy appetite.

The same applies to Don’t Let Them Get You Down in many ways, the song missing a spark found in its predecessors but still adding its own thick slice of modern metal before the closing Clearway provides a short and delicious volatile come seductive proposal for ears and thoughts to sink within. A fine end to a great release, the track sums up Unwanted Today perfectly with its heavy and light, raw and elegant unions; creating another hypnotic adventure.

There are moments where some songs maybe have too similar a surface to others which without a deliberate concentration sees them losing some of their clear identity, but alone all show modern metal with its strongest diversity and imagination whilst together they ensure Unwanted Today is a seriously enjoyable encounter. Grenouer is knocking even harder on the fullest recognition of the metal scene now, how long they can refuse entry we will see.

Unwanted Today is available from March 20th via Mausoleum Records

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RingMaster 20/03/2015

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