Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Review: Grimind - Escaped From Life (2004)

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Escaped From Life

Like Italian symphonic power metal, atmospheric Gothic metal/rock has spawned innumerable bands over the past couple of years. For fans of this style of metal, of which I myself am one, such an influx of talent is nothing less than a boon. It is true that a certain degree of dilution comes with such a concentration of bands vying to contribute to the genre, but there are those who rise above the tide and further the genre through some unique adaptation or prowess. Switzerland's Grimind possess the aptitude to be one of those who rise above, a capability I found to be clearly evident on their third demo Escaped From Life.

Grimind's music can be most accurately described as atmospheric Goth rock with a heavy degree of melancholy, both in the melodies and lyrical content. Mainman David Agócs sings in a clean voice, full of longing, infusing a sense of sadness into the songs. Besides his vocal duties, David applies an equal amount of talent to the rhythm and bass guitars. A prominent component of the band's sound is the keyboard element, played masterfully by drummer (and main songwriter) Matthieu Cachemaille. He grasps the concept of using the keys sparingly enough to not overwhelm the composition, yet create a lush atmosphere that is wholly complimentary to the voice of Agócs and the guitar melodies of Arnaud Nicod-Clément. The appropriately titled first track is devoted entirely to the ethereal mood that Matthieu is capable of weaving.

I found "Pain and Emotion" to be the track on which the band displays their full potential. Matthieu's piano passages offer a glimpse of sadness, further enhanced by David's vocals, that is carried to a higher level by a crunchy theme riff from Arnaud. From this point, aside from expressive guitar leads and continued keyboard experimentation (particularly on "Deliverance"), Grimind settle into a pattern of predictability that tends to overshadow their wealth of ability. This is not to say that Escaped From Life is a subpar album, however. On the contrary, this MCD is fully worthy of taking a place aside the releases of the leaders of the genre. In order to excel and to extend their reach beyond the multitude of bands offering similar material, Grimind will have to continue leveraging their atmospheric abilities while also giving added weight to their six-string power. To this end, Matthieu shows that he is already well on his way to creating exquisite piano/keyboard accompaniments, an element that few bands master.

Before wrapping up this review, I think it appropriate to mention that the final track on Escaped From Life is a cover of "In Your Room" from Depeche Mode, indicating to the casual listener from where Grimind draws influence. Quite true to the original, particularly where the vocals are concerned, Grimind add just enough of their own identity to give the song quite a new lease on life.

So in the end, Escaped From Life is a quality MCD of atmospheric Goth rock, perhaps quite radio-friendly as well, that marks Grimind as a band that fans of the genre should seek out and be on the watch for.

Track Listing
1 Atmospheric Sensation (Intro) 2:02
2 Pain and Emotion 3:43
3 Silence Still Remains 3:37
4 Deliverance 3:49
5 Limbus 3:47
6 In Your Room 4:08

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