Music News

Grails

If there was ever auditory shorthand for "we're not fucking around," it would be starting your album with a half-minute of wrenching, agonizing screams that give way to a distorted, circular guitar riff that eventually collapses in on itself in a swirl of low-end feedback. This is the first three minutes of Doomsdayer's Holiday — the entirety of the title track, no less — and in case you were wondering... no, Grails are not fucking around. It's a bold statement of intent, to be sure. What follows on the remaining tracks of Doomsdayer's Holiday, however, is decidedly less in-your-face. This Portland combo has gained a well-deserved reputation as a prime purveyor of spacious, psychedelic heaviness, and on this album, it indulges its cosmic tendencies in a way that's more concise and powerful. After the screams of the title track die down, the album moves into less assaultive territory, with cuts like "Reincarnation Blues" and, cheekily, "Predestination Blues," using homespun structures to counter the chaotic dirges at their core. By the time the album winds out with the echoing slide guitars of "Acid Rain," Grails have proven that they're just as likely to ease you to sleep as they are to scare the shit out of you.
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Jason Ferguson