Shreddy Krueger

The Grieving

Written by: TL on 14/09/2013 14:22:18

When Secret And Whisper went on hiatus and I had stopped whining about it for long enough to notice that three of its members had formed a new band under the name Shreddy Krueger - alledgedly to make sure that no matter what music they played, people would never take them too seriously... - I honestly thought I'd be spending most of all future coverage of them talking about how stupid I thought that choice of name was. I'm going to get that out of the way quickly here though, because while I thought I'd heard the post-hardcore production of the year in Hands Like Houses brilliant "Unimagine", the work Jeff Schneeweis and Joey Sturgis have done on Shreddy Krueger's first full length "The Grieving" clearly makes it a contender and is quite frankly somewhat unbelievable.

In case you haven't heard SK before, the first trio of tracks, "Hazel The Apparition", "Rothenberg" and "Cut Throat" should help you form a clear impression of their sound. Carrying over their knack for opening an album with a blast, "Hazel" amps up a synth before a crashing riff/scream combination bridges into the first clean verse. Exactly this contrast is the essential nature of "The Grieving"'s expression, bridging from chug-tastic barrages of monumentally heavy guitar and bass over into the star-gazing melodies and electronics that merely seem like a darker shade to the enchanting style some of these guys helped build in Secret And Whisper.

Nowhere is the contrast more apparent than in the back to back highlight tracks four and five, "Inamorata" and "Violence". The sparkling synth that underscores both the opening stadium-sized riff and the following balladic verse-and-chorus build lends the song an outrageously planetary scope which is so huge I don't think I've heard anything like it since Journey's 80's classic "Separate Ways". It's an "eye of the storm" sort of song however, which is followed immediately by the devastating conflict and vulgarity of "Violence", which lets the synth howl like a siren while battering riffs soon conjure up mental images of falling bombs and futuristic death-robots tearing each other to shreds in some murky, war-torn swamp.

What truly makes Shreddy Krueger sound like they come from the future compared to their actual contemporaries, is how seamlessly they integrate this contrast. While the instrumentals resort unashamedly often to punishing bursts of chuggery and familiar Misery Signals-ish, melodic fills, the variation in singer Jordan Chase's vocal work, and the way his cleans seem to fit his wild roars, prevents "The Grieving" from ever feeling like just another clean/scream metalcore album. Owning a clean range that stretches from Brandon Bolmer-ish airy lows to Jared Leto-ish raspy cries, and a harsh repertoire of both blood-curdling screams and beastly growls, Chase keeps it constantly mixed up and unpredictable, and with his only possible flaw being an at times unclear enunciation, I can't help but to question why his talent wasn't used much more in combination with Charles Finn while the two were still active in Secret And Whisper.

"The Grieving" has quite a lot going for it then, although it's fair to argue that it isn't all the songs that are as consistently engaging as "Inamorata" and "Violence", with "Rothenburg" and "Cut Throat" particularly appearing a bit less remarkable when seen in the full scope of the album. Still I think it's hard to see this record as anything but a yardstick for efforts to come in a genre where entirely too many records cannot be reviewed without use of the word "generic". The sheer variation presented - across songs like "Empress"; which really milks the Misery Signals well of guitar-inspiration, "In Ruin"; which repeats a simple, soaring lead to the point where your hands are likely to keep air-guitaring it after it ends, and "The Grieving"; which immerses the listener in a dark, electronic atmospheric interlude of sorts - is enough to enchant the album with a kind of life that's flat out otherworldly compared to the repetitive harsh verse/squeaky clean chorus variations we've become used to on records like this.

Add then the fact that songs like "Inamorata" and "Gods" finally marry electronics to the genre in a way that it's been begging for in ages, with especially the latter feeling like a torrent crashing through a dam when keys that sound like they come from some parallel universe momentarily phase in towards the end. As I started out saying, it just sounds unbelievable. In a time when many are becoming disillusioned with the wonders of modern recording technology, "The Grieving" - nevermind a slightly inconsistent songwriting which still has room for improvement - is a state-of-the-art piece of work to renew faith in newschool rock genres and remind skeptics that technology can in fact be used to create something astounding, so long as it's wielded by hands sufficiently deft and ambitious.

Now to think such hands supposedly have knives for fingertips.

Download: Inamorata, Violence, Gods, In Ruin
For The Fans Of: Bring Me The Horizon, Chiodos, Secret & Whisper, Blessthefall, Night Verses

Release Date 09.04.2013
In Vogue

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