Grayceon - Mothers Weavers Vultures
Translation Loss Records
Progressive Metal
5 songs (42'54")
Release year: 2020, Translation Loss Records
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

A few weeks ago my MR colleagues reminded me that I missed last year’s annual awards and I better not do it this time around, so I pushed myself not to be MIA at the end of 2020 (I still have not brought myself to write an essay on what a horrible year it was in terms of life outside of metal). One of the reasons I am not too hot on annual awards (besides being disorganized) is I am always afraid there is that album I really needed to listen to and include on the year end’s list, yet missed. Guess what, it happened. Enter Grayceon’s Mothers Weavers Vultures, the album that should have been on that proverbial list. And I should have known better, having included the first two albums by this Bay Area band on my annual awards lists in 2007 and 2008. But then I lost track of Grayceon and now I am glad they have been rediscovered as Mothers Weavers Vultures is a hell of a ride.

If you have no idea Grayceon is a power trio with famous Jackie Perez Gratz (Giant Squid, Asunder, contributor to Agalloch) playing cello and singing for the band. Guitarist Max Doyle and drummer Zack Farwell are no slouches either and together they formed a progressive juggernaut where cello is not simply an ornament but a key instrument. Mothers Weavers Vultures brought the memories of the self-titled debut and This Grand Show and those memories could not have been sweeter.

Diablo WInd announces itself with an Americana cello melody arriving straight from a desert in one of the Western States. It further develops in the fastest moving track on Mothers Weavers Vultures, the nervy staccato, teetering on the edge, save for a few more soothing moments. The instruments merge into a wonky progressive headbang with the lyrics ominously predicting that “firewinds are coming, future is dark”. The tired crash ends Diablo Wind where cello and guitars join into a groovy interlude exploded from within by crazy drum rolls. Jackie’s voice is low, chesty, not a sugary soprano, and a perfect fit for an unusual metal band.

The Lucky Ones has something equally native American and Celtic in its opening melody, and just like Grayceon were masters of swelling, gathering strength songs on the self-titled debut The Lucky Ones does it eventually ripping into a defining foundational riff around 3.5’. The Lucky Ones varies tempos up and down, and becomes a rollercoaster ride vacillating between brooding, ecstatic shamanic celebrations, pulling out the guts, all progressing along the path of circular structure with the song ending where it started.

The rest of Mothers Weavers Vultures is not as crazy exciting but nevertheless very good. This Bed is more single minded, in a sole doomy key, a polyphonic lullaby where cello dominates. It is decidedly sadder, and if not that, it is certainly more introspective, all until the last closing 2 minutes, where This Bed becomes more forceful and more wailing. And Shine Onis a short (by Grayceon standards), dense, tense, emotional, bass heavy and kind of mourning. The only track I wasn’t jumping up and down for was the closer Rock Steady where an uneventful dreamy glide got interrupted with something rather discordant, almost ugly around 4’ in. That, in and of itself, would be fine, if Rock Steady had an evolution afterwards, but the end comes fast, and closing the album on this strange note left me scratching my head a bit.

Those of you who followed Grayceon, even if from afar, don’t miss Mothers Weavers Vultures. Those of you who didn’t, it’s not too late. Either way, if you are into substantive bold progressive yet heavy music, you will enjoy that ride promised you at the beginning of this review!

Killing Songs :
Diablo Wind, The Lucky Ones
Alex quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Grayceon that we have reviewed:
Grayceon - This Grand Show reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
Grayceon - Grayceon reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
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