Album Review: GRAYCEON IV
Do you ever put on a record and immediately get goosebumps? This is the case with IV. Grayceon has been a band who have been in the periphery of my interests for years now. I have always admired them and felt they hadn't quite lived up to their potential. Truth is, I think so highly of this band that I think they still haven't. That being said, IV is a helluva step forward for this San Francisco prog metal outfit. With their trademark cello remaining in the forefront this is the band's fifth release in 12 years and the trio seems to have a grander vision and more epic dream than ever before.
While the execution is still not quite where it needs to be, there is something truly jaw-dropping about this offering that has me coming back time and time again to better understand what has been wrought here. The sheer sonic poetry of the melodic cello lines and the counterbalancing with more conventional metal flourishes makes for something unique, something that we can't quite ignore and which will continue to fascinate throughout the ages.
The utter amount of talent encapsulated in Grayceon is simply thrilling. This is a band who have every tool they need to succeed and more. With potent songwriting and truly fabulous vocals, it's hard not to be enamored. Still, I think I'm still a little thrown by some of the more conventional guitar riffing. It's not bad per say, but it seems out of place, for me at least when the band steps back and focuses more on atmospheres the music shines brighter.
Yet, this is the kind of incredibly ambitious project that we have come to expect from Grayceon. They could very well have played into all sorts of post tropes that we see in the genre today. Instead, they choose to invert many aspects of avant-garde metal in the name of crafting something truly unique. The simply thrilling journey that you take throughout IV is a testament to all that Grayceon has created and to all we are looking forward too from this band.
There are songwriting tricks and frills here that show Grayceon is a band far more mature than their years. There is an overarching approach to the record that only makes it all the more potent. The thrilling grooves and lyrical melodies remind us of all that metal can be when we let the music really stretch its wings. There are some truly tear-jerking moments on this record too, perhaps most notably on the ballad "Let It Go." We get the sense throughout IV that Grayceon has really come to terms with the overwhelming amount of talent they possess. This isn't just a step forward but almost a coming of age. A sense that the band is starting to properly embrace all that they can be. This record is truly fabulous, but I wonder what they could do next. If this record is any indication—it will be stunning.