Review – Grimness 69: The Bridge

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Review – Grimness 69: The Bridge
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Grimness 69: The Bridge
Death Metal, Grindcore
Butchered Records, Rising Nemesis Records, Sevared Records
2010
Release length: 39:36
Myspace

Originally a maddening Grindcore band from Italy, Grimness 69 had shifted their sound in 2005 to a more conventional mixture of that style and Death Metal. Since then, they have issued two full-length albums to showcase this new approach, in addition to their three split recordings when they were just a single genre. Their third is a bit of an oddity, however. The Bridge, released in 2010, actually has three labels listed on the back artwork, on top of being noted throughout the internet as being released through Xtreem Music. This makes The Bridge a release through German label Rising Nemesis Records, as well as an additional two in North America (Sevared Records, and Butchered Records). This is something many probably haven’t seen outside of the occasional split release, and it certainly is interesting, but at the same time could be a harbinger of bad things to come…

The Bridge definitely carries a think, professional sound to it, having a nice clarity to most of the instruments. This is evidenced well when “White Room” slams into full force right away. The guitars have a nice thickness to them that works well with both the Grindcore and Death Metal elements, retaining a deep and often bludgeoning sound for much of the time. The bass is pretty loud in the mix as well, having a twanging sound at times, but for the most part provides a somewhat deep roar that acts more like a main instrument, and less like meer support to the rhythm chords being played. The vocals have a great guttural ferocity to them that isn’t anything too special, but manages to get the job done well thanks to the subtle extra range that offers more intimidating deeper tones at times, and the rare higher rasp used in the background as a layering effect. The cymbals chime in well, though at times can feel a bit distant, and far from as crisp as the rest of the kit, such as the pounding clicks of the kicks that stand out over everything but the bass guitar, and the tight snares that sometimes feel lost in the mix.

Despite the track listing, this is actually only nine tracks long. The shorter tracks “V” to “XXIX” are not simple Grindcore offierings, but instead, are just silence. Remember when “hidden tracks” were all the rage for bands in the nineties into the early turn of the century? Well, this is essentially that, except “Doomsday Carillon” isn’t well hidden despite still having to wade through two minutes and four seconds to reach it. The song isn’t the greatest either, but still a decent Death Metal offering. The snares really show through more here thanks to the bass and kicks of the drum kit taking a step back and allowing the lower pitched guitars to really take control of the situation. There are plenty of open sections because of it, though nothing ever too empty or hollow in the manner of not having a rich enough sound. This already slower cut eventually reaches the crawling Doom Metal pace with held notes from the guitar, focusing largely on the vocals for quite some time around the half-way point before shifting back into the traditional pace. The length of nearly five minutes does start to become a bit of a challenge given the less-than-impressive music, as well as the lacking bite in the audio due to less bass being used.

Thanks largely to how loud the bass ends up being here, some of the bite from the album can feel a bit lost, or even become detrimental. However, there are plenty of good tracks on The Bridge that stand out, but sometimes it can be a little harder to get into the album. As mentioned, “White Room” hammers away with pounding material the second it starts, really taking advantage of how rich the faster pace and stronger, deeper tones can make the track. The chorus does downshift in speed, but it works out here to give an eerie, crushing tone of the music. The blending of Grindcore-esque passages and two-stepping works well to make this an addicting track full of hostility and energy. “Down to the Bones” follows, bringing that attitude “White Room” had back into the mix with a stronger Death Metal push that feels burdening and brutal. The chorus utilizes some layered vocals with a background style that has a slightly higher rasp, pushing some hook-fueled riffs and consistant faster-paced bass kicks against blasting bridges to put together a head banging mandate to the listener. There’s also the Death Metal heavy “The Shining Key,” which finds a good deal of dismal music and atmosphere playing through some bass-heavy riffs that utilize the louder, often twanging sound of the instrument well in the slower passages. This also offers some faster, nearly blast beat intensity in some of the bridges, incorporating a subtle Grindcore push well with great transitions in and out that keep the song fresh for its rather shorter life span of three minutes and twenty seconds.

“Illheaven Hells” winds up being the only track to give the listener some literal trouble. While it is far from a bad song overall, there is no dying that the audio quality wreaks havoc here, specifically volume level of the bass. Given how loud it already is in the mix, you can really pick up on the overly simple notes being played on that instrument, which end up creating an Humpa style in the forefront of the music that really doesn’t mesh well at all with the brutality the band was clearly aiming for. It’s pretty much impossible not to pick up on it during the heavier main passages, becoming a metaphorical eyesore you’ll have a rough time looking past. The closing is pretty good though, giving a bit of a haunting, and even emotional tone thanks to the guitar work towards the end, removing that more upbeat element from the bass all together.

With “Illheaven Hells” and the closing “hidden” track in mind, it’s easy to feel that The Bridge ends up slightly padded with a few songs that really aren’t the best. But, when speaking of the overall final product, Grimness 69 don’t really let the listener down. The material here is still strong, though the levels sometimes take away a bit of the bite the music would normally have. This is still a really good Death Metal meets Grindcore effort that is definitely worth checking out. You may not find this lodged in your player for long periods of time, but many of the songs present an intense, energetic offering that will have you banging your head along in various degrees to the pounding music found within.


01. White Room – 4:29
02. Down to the Bones – 2:30
03. Chariot of Acrimony – 5:33
04. The Shining Key – 3:19
05. Illheaven Hells – 5:16
06. The First Words of a Dead – 2;12
07. Adore the Ten Fathers – 4:28
08. Feeding – 4:47
09. V – 0:05
10. VII – 0:07
11. XI – 0:11
12. XIII – 0:13
13. XVII – 0:17
14. XIX – 0:19
15. XXIII – 0:23
16. XXIX – 0:29
17. Doomsday Carillon – 4:58
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

Grimness 69
Grimness 69

Physical review copy of this release provided by Grimness 69.