Germ: Grief

We've argued this point countless times by now.  You either go classic and do it right, which is apparently impossible for some bands, or you do something new, you do something original, something that excites and confronts.  If you can't do either, we'll be more than happy to toss scores of 1.5 and 2.5 your way consistently.  Honestly, hadn't heard of Germ around here until this one, but we are, however, versed in post-black metal.  It's become something of a desire for us recently, seeing how bands can push the idea further and blossom into something unusual.  Grief, though, is beyond expectations.  When we see a press release that states 'post-black metal shoegaze,' or something of that variety, we get excited, but often it's closer to ambient with harsh, white fuzz covering over everything, including the typical Popeye the Sailor vocals.  Germ, on the other hand, approaches things in an entirely different way.  The amount of experimentation in this album and integration of a variety of styles and effects, all at the hands of a single musician, is amazing.  Tim Yatras, the genius behind this, has done quite a number of projects over the years, and this latest piece of work, Grief, is like a first love.  The presentation, the image, the lyrics, the vocal style, thank God someone out there is getting it right for the rest of them so we can actually have something we never forget.

 

 

Love the cover on this one.  It seems to be an actual Victorian or Edwardian photograph, but with the paintshop programs out there now, even free ones, who knows?  Regardless, it gives you a sense of what this album is going to be like, carrying the tag that it does.  Melancholia, straight melancholia all over the place so you collapse on your fainting couch and pine away for your beloved who threw herself from a bridge into floodwaters.  Sadness to the extreme, with a little tear running down your cheek just shy of dandyism.  You gaze at your shoes so much your body doubles over and you find yourself staring at your lower back.  Ambient winds introduce the album, which moves into "Butterfly," which serves nicely as the core of the album.  Lyrics here are delivered in French and English, going from a chick to Yatras himself.  This particular track gives a good sense of the delivery present here, because the vocals have this sickening quality that sounds like a screaming raven, blurring syllables into a nearly incomprehensible wailing that perfects the art of the black metal lament.  The guitars, beautifully atmospheric, the keyboards, flourishes of texture.  But what makes Germ stand out among other bands of this type is he does what's required for a high score around here, he goes further.

 

Whereas most bands would be satisfied, or rather creatively burned out, by the time they developed a "sound," carrying it through every frikken track thereafter, in Grief we're given something almost entirely different for every single song.  There's a general concept to all of it, but Germ integrates a high level of instrumentation and style.  Piano lines, suicidal hair metal ballads, piano ballads with blood all over the keys, black metal attacks, waves of ambient guitars, there's practically everything you could want out of post-black metal shoegaze.  We're not going to waste your time with a drawn-out explanation of each track, either, it's not what we usually do unless there's a need for it, and with all the press he's already received it would be redundancy to try it our own way, and frankly stupid.  The only complaint that could possibly given for it are the raven calls.  They're awesome, seriously now.  But they're used quite a bit.  Whenever Germ wants to present its black metal side, he goes straight to them, and it tends to be the catch-all process for screaming throughout Grief.  It's a very minor point, as you can tell via our score, but for all the experimentation, the incredible usage of instruments, the artistry, you'd hope for a little more in that area, because the vocal range otherwise is incredible.  He can sing, like real sing, but when he goes for dank evil, it tends to always be the cawing.  We like the cawing, it's somewhat novel in the approach, but don't overuse anything, ever.  However, again, this is a minor point.  Grief is excellent, the definition of what post-black metal shoegaze needs to be, and likely a defining album for the future.

 

Germ Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Germ: Grief
Eisenwald
5 / 5