Artist: Grim Earth
Album: In the Throes of Madness
Label: Desert Records
Release Date: 05/11/2021
Country: United States
Do you like raw, filthy sludge? Do you like hardcore? Do you like death metal? If you answered yes to all of those questions then you’ll want to continue reading because I’m looking at Grim Earth‘s upcoming album In the Throes of Madness. The album is ste for release on November 5th through our good friends over at Desert Records.
The band hail from Olympia, Washington and have been putting out releases since 2017, with this being their second full-length. For these crushing tunes we have to thank Craig Moore (guitar and vocals), Jay Hall (bass and vocals) and Austin Peterson (drums). The band draw some very clear influences from legendary sludge acts such as Eyehategod, Dystopia (my personal favourite of all the sludge acts), Iron Monkey and plenty of others. Like Dystopia they incorporate punk elements but rather than going in a crust direction they choose to focus more on hardcore. You’ll also find Autopsy inspired death metal elements incorporated throughout, sometimes being more obvious than others.
Musically the album moves at a slow pace for the most part but does pick up energy and momentum when called for with the more hardcore influenced tracks. The slower murkier tracks almost feel as if the music is dragging itself out of a swamp and along the ground on its belly towards the listener. There’s an unstoppable moment that the band have built that seems to propel the music ever forward, driven by anger, fear, depression and pain. The album focuses on the human condition and the raw emotion that comes with this subject matter is effectively incorporated by the band into the essence of the music itself.
Vocally speaking Craig hits the sludge sweet spot, his style is equal parts raw and pained, distorted and murky and powerful and commanding. He sits in line with the likes of Mike Williams and Dino Sommese in execution and essence. Jay’s style is far more influenced by Chris Reifert and are very much death metal vocals. Instrumentally speaking the guitar work is excellent and shifts between slow, filthy, distorted sludge parts, bouncy higher energy hardcore segments and aggressive and heavy death metal parts. Of course, with anything that contains hardcore you’re going to have thick and audible bass work and this album is no exception thanks to Jay. Drum wise we have an equally solid performance with Austin perfectly mirroring the energy of the strings and vocals and shifting styles as needed.
As far as best tracks go I couldn’t possibly pick so instead I’ll give you a few for each style of music. As far as pure sludge goes, Sick Fuck and Unforgiving Existence are top contenders along with Foul and Rotten and Equalizer. As far as hardcore goes the real standout is Eaten Alive but Black Tar Blues also features plenty of great punk elements. As far as death metal is concerned it’s all about In the Service of Madness which is pure filthy OSDM madness at its finest.
Overall, this is a fantastic release from a band that keep getting stronger with each output. In the Throes of Madness sees Grim Earth take more chances and expand their sound into areas that they hadn’t touched previously. Honestly the diversity really makes a huge difference to the overall quality of the album and ensures that it never feels boring or stale at any point. If you enjoy heavy, raw, dirty music then do not miss this.
Listen to and order the album: