Grayceon - Grayceon
Vendlus
Avantgarde Progressive Rock
4 songs (45'37")
Release year: 2007
www.grayceon.com, Vendlus
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

For those two and half of you who actually might be reading my reviews I hear you in my head complaining about their length recently, so let me get straight to facts. Grayceon come from Northern California, they do have a cello among the trio of instruments, but instead of being a stuck-up chamber troupe I have a feeling they would play your neighborhood bar just as likely as they would play a philharmonic hall. They are wonderful musicians, but their music does not follow any canons as to how it has to sound when they have a classical instrument, instead this is all one free-flowing spontaneous jam, which I am sure required lots of thought and preparation. Most importantly, they don’t just push the creative envelope, they simply take it and shove it hard across the boundaries of multiple music genres, labels and tags be damned.

Max Doyle (guitar), Zack Farwell (drums), both also of Walken, have lured Jackie Perez-Gratz (master cellist), of many acts, but most recently Giant Squid and Asunder. While coloring and adding texture to many an act, with Grayceon Jackie gets a chance to be at the center stage, to put an everlasting stamp on the sound, all the while enjoying an unbelievable dynamics with Max’s guitar.

I’d play Grayceon’s self-titled debut to some of your friends who appreciate complexity in music and challenge them to come up with the number of players in a band. My bet they would never get they are hearing a trio. Most amazingly, there is no bass guitar on a record, but who needs it when there is a cello here, tuned an octave or so below any other members of the viola family. Trading off the lead vs. base and rhythmic duties with the guitar, all surrounded with the freakiest, syncopated and maddening percussion, Jackie, Max and Zack create a number of constantly changing speed bordering on dissonance quandary, which may only seem like a mess on the surface, but making all kinds of sense once you tune in. Although this is mostly instrumental music, both Jackie and Max contribute their vocals, mostly of clean and serene variety creating all kinds of beautiful polyphony when necessary.

With Grayceon we go through the span of many styles and melodies. From sad, heart-string tugging melodies at the beginning of Sounds Like Thunder and Into the Deep to the latter song breaking out with a gypsy dance before collapsing in a slow dramatic finish, from the ominous cymbal and acoustics anticipation to rocking gallop ruckus in Ride, from meandering finger-picking jam to heavy riffing on Into the Deep, from funeral marches on Into the Deep to fast folky thrash on Song for You, from Neurosis to Giant Squid to Skyclad to Scorpions – this album has got it all, I have simply run out of epithets.

If you are satisfied with the conventional metal music, most definitely pass on this rocker. You will not find standard song structures or songs per se here, period. Strangely enough, the records like this generally need quite a bit of time to sink in for me, but not Grayceon, because never mind its musicianship and complexity, it still got a heap of almost boyish infectious enthusiasm, not to mention a ton of great melodies, so it captivates from start to finish. Here is some of the most imaginative music I have heard in a while, without being snobby or over the top.

Killing Songs :
I liked it all
Alex quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Grayceon that we have reviewed:
Grayceon - This Grand Show reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
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