Grim Ordeal

A Tragedy Unfolds

Written by: BW on 23/10/2014 17:42:25

It took me quite a long time to get into metal bands like Machine Head, so I have to say that that was my loss entirely. Hell, I started off with Dire Straits as my introduction to things guitar based yet oh how we have moved on since then. I now sit listening to a Dutch Metalcore band thinking that there is a lot to be said for a genre that at times can get very over-saturated, but when the occasional glimmer of goodness come around you get to enjoy the music all over again. Grim Ordeal are not a band I’ve heard about, both at the release of this album and indeed on their EP three years ago, but by Christ I’ve heard of them now, as my ears are still ringing.

Kick drums aside, the main things I look for in a metalcore band are lyrics that I can make out, some pretty catchy and well produced guitar sections and an ability to crank the neck back and forth when the feeling takes over for the restraint. In bits this album, “A Tragedy Unfolds” delivers very well, even bringing in some lovely melodic guitar work in amongst all the hatred and aggression. The actual musical part of this album is a very solid offering. I would say that if I had to be over critical that there are maybe a few more uses of the kick drums than I would personally like over the album. It’s getting used as if it is gonna run out of fashion and that is just a touch on the overkill side, but it is a staple part of this kind of music, so it totally depends on what side of the fence you sit on.

As for the songs, well, there is a lot of decent work and some nice little quirky parts in there, but there is one thing I am slightly disappointed about in amongst all this. I thought that this would have some actual clean vocal parts interspersed through the songs, but it has none of it, which is a bit sad for me. I always like a little break from the constant gravel throat and this simply doesn’t happen. My own opinion would be that it would add a bit more substance to what is already there. It isn’t to say that it is wholly bad because it really isn’t, but the way I look at it is that is breaks the sometimes repetitive feel of songs if there is a slight variant involved. This just doesn’t seem to happen with the strictly harsh vocals on here.

For example, two tracks that I find really enjoyable from a musical standpoint are “Breathing The Dark” and “Ghost Of The Past” as there are some lovely melodic guitars in there and they really manage to set themselves off so well, along with the drum work, and it all comes together so bloody well, but that lack of a steady vocal in there just seems to hamper things instead of enhance. Perhaps this is not my true love after all, but as I’ve said before I know what some of those big names can do and I feel that if Grim Ordeal took a leaf out of Machine “F&*^(*g” Head’s book they could do themselves the world of good; and it wouldn’t even change their way of performing that much, which as far as I’m concerned is good enough as it is.

The best way to show how good their electric strings can really be is on the opening track “Surrender” which has a beautifully intricate intro which then cuts into a hell for leather onslaught on your senses. The guitars hold onto every other instrument and seem to keep it heading in such a tight direction whilst allowing things to just get far enough out of control to give it its own identity. It shows what these guys are capable of when the shackles are off and only cements the future they could carve out for themselves.

Over the piece though we have ourselves a well put together album that has some solidly put together components with some undeniably lovely guitar work and a decent percussional backbone. As I have said already though, it is only the vocals that, for me anyway, let this album down just a little. Even the screaming mainstream, like Slipknot, have their moments of clear singing and I just feel that this is the only piece missing from this nearly complete puzzle. The only tragedy, besides that one in the album name, is this one thing.

I will say this much though. As a band who have not really got a lot of previous material on show or available to the public to listen to, they sound incredibly tight considering. I would say that the way they go about doing the tracks would have me thinking that they were mainstream and up there with those people who they are currently supporting, if their Facebook page is anything to go by. I would rate “A Tragedy Unfolds” higher was it not for my love/hate relationship with the growl. I just believe that Grim Ordeal have a lot more to offer us and they are almost there, but it just doesn’t quite hit those dizzy heights just yet.

In summing up, we have a band who are definitely above average, but they are sandwiched between there and great things. The guys who are based in Deventer can be very proud of what they’ve given us on their first full length album. Few bands ever get that first disc absolutely nailed so it is of great credit that the album sounds good. It just needs some refinement and a bit less on the shouting with some crisp, clean vocal work mixing it up a little to really make a difference - at least in my eyes anyway. Add to the fact that I am really liking their little EP, which has sharper vocals, helps to prove the point. Have a listen below to see if you agree or not and let us know in the comments.


Download: Breathing the Dark, Ghost of the Past, Surrender, Darkside Desire
For The Fans Of: Machine Head, Grown Cold,

Release date 05.10.2014
Self Released

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