We have long ago lost count of the number of bands and striking releases introduced to us by Stu either from being released on his own STP Records or by his promotion with the same undoubted prowess of other punk bred encounters. These past couple of weeks or so, he added another couple of offerings to the list, one coming in the compelling shape of Black Tears, the latest album from Grippers.
Released to the rear of last year via Potencial Hardcore, Black Tears is a raucous stomp of punk rock/hardcore bred animosity from one of Spain’s finest. Hailing from Madrid, the album first saw the band’s current line-up in place and a new injection of irritability, power, and punk rock prowess firing up their uproar. With Rachel leading the attack with her middle finger raised vocals whilst swinging addiction tempting basslines and the guitars of Ale and Markitos weaving webs of temptation across tempests of fury, the band’s sound and album bites hard and relentlessly, it all driven by the dextrously hostile swings of drummer Felix. It could be described like a fusion of The Distillers, dragSTER and Vice Squad but Grippers easily stamp down their own individuality in character and noise.
Black Tears immediately gets down to vigorous business and persuasion with opener Never Surrender. Straightway a caustic groove burrows deep, percussion gathering around its sonic hook before, with riffs and bassline as hungrily descending, the track erupts into one infernally gripping stroll. As Rachel delivers her words and intent with antipathy soaked defiance, the track soon took full command of attention, its feral contagion inescapable and only provoking greater participation.
The Flame matches its temptation with its own unrestrained proposal, the song even more energetic and forceful in gait and energy. Similarly though, it has an catchiness which delivers the spite and venom with relish, refusing to be denied its quarry with that same scourge of appetite flooding the album’s following title track. This too is a short but unstoppable, indeed merciless slice of punk contagion. From group calls to brooding bassline, nagging riffs to pugnacious beats, Back Tears gripped attention and ignited the passions; it all stood over by the agitational tones of Rachel.
Feral and hellacious, The Void barely takes a breath as it harasses and incites next, the track hardly shaking more than fifty seconds from its slumber but leaving another voracious trespass to greedily devour before Carry On uncages its own particular treatment of punk ‘n’ roll galvanism. An anthem for this or any time and whether taken as an intimate arousal or a spark for uprising within a corrupt world, the track is a tonic for waning perseverance.
The final pair of The Squad and Broken Boots leaves nothing to be desired; the first infectious turbulence again stoking the fires of unity and defiance with its successor one last fierce yet enlivening slab of rock ‘n’ roll from the animated and inspiriting enterprise of Grippers. As all before them, both tracks hit the spot and ignited the raucous inside, reminding us just how vital punk rock can be.
Black Tears is superb and as their creators, a proposition no punk appetite should miss.
Black Tears is out now; available @ https://grippers.bigcartel.com/product/grippers-black-tears
Pete RingMaster 22/09/2021
Copyright RingMaster Review
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