Formed in 2010 in Stockholm, Swedish band Grieved finally announce themselves with their first full length release, the eponymously titled Grieved (Prosthetic Records). The band already have an eight track 12” called ‘Samaritans’, a four track 7” called ‘Ageing’, and a shared EP with Hardcore/Punk band Runes (all on Anchors Aweigh Records) under their belts, but hopefully this release should be the one that gains them a much wider audience.
Ostensibly a Hardcore band, Grieved appear to have a more nihilistic attitude than most, showing little to no interest in expressing uplifting messages of empowerment and self belief, but wanting to create a colder, darker atmosphere in which to vent their anger. There’s little to no reliance on speed either, with most of the songs being slow to mid-paced affairs. On some (fairly brief) occasions the band even appear to have just as much in common with some Doom and Black Metal acts as they do Hardcore.
Opener ‘Opaque’ begins with dissonant distorted guitars before being joined by drums and a thick, rumbling bass. From then on, singer Marcus Lundqvist takes over as he roars and screams his bleak message over slow but effective chugging riffs. ‘Fogbound’ follows with a slightly more uptempo feel, but not for long as the song slows down to a crawl halfway through, the drums used to inject short bursts of urgency along the way.
‘June 22’ is a distant and cold sounding guitar instrumental which acts as a segue into the next track ‘Drain’, another slowish song with a simple riff and broken glass vocals. ‘Turn Cold’ is up next and follows a similar pattern, and is followed in turn by ‘Losing Touch’ which again does the same thing until halfway through when, after lulling you into a false sense of security, it suddenly wakes up, speeds up, lashes out and smashes you around the face with furious blastbeats.
‘Shattered’ is chunky and heavy and gets to the point in just over a minute and a half, and is followed by ‘Synesthesia’, a second, but quite different guitar instrumental. Penultimate track ‘Asunder’ starts slowly but gathers pace quickly and is over almost before you know it. Closer ‘Reverie’ begins with strummed open chords before gaining momentum and building purposefully towards a suitably dark and melancholic climax.
On first listen, you could be forgiven for thinking some of the songs sound rather samey or follow a similar format, and while that might be true to a point, further listens reveal that each track does actually have its own distinct texture and personality while interlocking perfectly with the others to make a superbly solid, cohesive sounding record.
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