The history of this duo goes back to 1997 when they first started making music under a different project name. Through the changes that occurred they chose the name of the mythological character Grendel and began releasing music starting in early 2000 with their first promo CD. They were soon signed by the Noitekk label which released the remastered demo CD Inhumane Amusement. This group continued to create new music and released their follow-up EP End of Ages in 2002. In 2003 the European market saw the release of the new full-length album Prescription : Medicide and was followed up in the fall of 2004 by the North American release on Metropolis Records. This exposure was sure to bring more popularity to this group as they continued to grow and mature their sound. In 2005 they released their EP Soilbleed continuing to onslaught the world with their harsh electro-industrial music. Following up this release they put together another full-length album appropriately titled Harsh Generation which describes the music and target audience perfectly.
The new electronic industrial scene is spawning these groups that bring to the masses their versions of harsh, pounding beats, layered electronics and whispered/shouted distorted vocals (how else do you explain it?). Comparable to Punto Omega, The Retrosic, Decoded Feedback and Suicide Commando this group produces this variety of solid, harsh industrial music.
The current lineup consists of [VLRK] (vocals, synths, sampling, programming) and [4NIT4] (live synths, engineering). They hail from the Netherlands and are quickly gaining worldwide fame. Watch for them to perform live, I'm sure it will be a powerful show. In the meantime be sure to catch selected tracks on the Gothic Paradise Club radio show.
Harsh Generation - Review
It's been a couple of years since the last release from this band and it comes in the form of this full-length album containing ten harsh, pounding electro-industrial tracks. As with their previous releases fans of this harsh industrial music will be pleased to have exactly that, no more, no less, nothing new and no deviation from what they've done in the past. They have no lyrics and variations on the music, but in the end it boils down to more of what they're good at doing.
After a short "Intro" piece, we're launched right into "Harsh Generation" with fast-pounding beats, layer upon layer of heavy electronics and those distorted harsh vocals that sound like the someone singing after gargling gasoline. Like previous releases there are a few melodic elements that elevate this band above some of the other sound-alikes such as on "Void Malign" with some haunting backing vocals, or other samples, violin or other synthesized melodic strings from time to time. However, once you get the harsh, driving electronic elements and basic vocal movements down from "Harsh Generation", "Void Malign" and so on, it's just put together and repeat for each piece after that with few exceptions.
It is these exceptions that I would like to highlight and talk about now. These are the pieces that stand out to me, including the previously mentioned "Void Malign" because of the melodic break it brings, but most importantly is the piece "B.A.A.L. (Deliver Me)" that listeners of Gothic Paradise radio will no doubt recognize from this album. This piece contains some of the melodic elements previously mentioned, but overall it just breaks the mold entirely. The vocals take on a vocoded robotic feeling and the music includes a different set of instruments and hooks, as well as some overlay of sample vocals for a nice melodic feel. "Dirty" is also a bit different in that we don't hear the harsh, distorted male vocals, but some sensuous female vox, possibly samples, but the music drives on the same and otherwise is mainly an instrumental piece.
It's on with the same old music for the rest of the album until we reach the final "Outro" which is a nice synthesized neo-classical haunting instrumental piece with some bombastic elements and a great overall production. Now why the "regular" tracks on the album can't contain a little bit more of this style with some intelligible vocals or a good mixture, or compromise is beyond me, because I think they have the talent, but it's wasted on so much of the same. Still, overall it's a good album that fans will enjoy.
Soilbleed EP - Review
Since the release of their previous album I wasn't really expecting much from this band so soon. But as with many electronic bands, the music keeps churning out. This EP is a nice addition to any industrial music lover's collection. It builds on their harsh electro-industrial style providing seven full tracks that provide over 30 minutes of great music.
The title track only appears three times, which is nice since so often these EP's and singles are just full of remixes of the same track. The remixes of this title track are also different enough to provide quite a good variety, yet they remain true enough to the original style to not be too distracting. The track has that powerful and harsh industrial sound we have to grown to expect from this band with the muffled and distorted vocals, angry lyrics, pounding beats and melodic layered electronics.
There are four other excellent tracks on the album, three of which continue on this industrial assualt. "Interrogation Leash" starts off with some movie samples which also continue throughout the album. "Zombienation" is a favorite of mine from this band with it's robotic elements portraying a bit of the message through the composition of the music, lyrics and vocal styles. "Aspiration Feed" really puts on the power, but lacks the melodic elements that the other tracks really bring out.
The disc finally wraps up with "Dream II" which is a special treat for dark-folk fans with the guest appearance of Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio. Like previous releases, Grendel show they can tone things down bringing out dark melodic elements without the harsh beats and vocals.
There you have it, seven excellent tracks and remixes for over thirty minutes of great music. Highly recommended!
Prescription : Medicide - Review
With the recent addition of this group to the Metropolis Records roster, this album will probably be the first exposure for many. I think even though this is the case, many fans of this harsh industrial music will immediately be new fans of this group. Their combination of powerful percussion, multi-layered synths and harsh, distorted vocals manage to really pack a punch and pound the music deep into the listener's soul.
The album manages to fuse so much energy and harsh elements into ten tracks that it's quite amazing. The music itself is wonderful, the way the power really comes out and just overpowers the listener. If you're on the dancefloor, the beats are sure to move you. The harsh, distorted vocals are a good medium in some cases, but overall my personal preference causes me to feel that the monotonous tone really starts to wear on the nerves. There is enough of a break and variety that it doesn't get that bad, and those that really enjoy this grinding, harsh distortion should really enjoy it.
The melodic influences of the music also provide a nice respite and variety in the overall feeling to make each track more enjoyable. For example, the beautiful violin on the hard-driving track "Pax Psychosis" has quickly made this a favorite of mine. The melodic synths and this violin on the chorus almost become a sort of vocal in itself. Then you add the laid-back, mid-tempo instrumental track "Dream" and you have some more excellent variety. This instrumental really shows how a good selection of samples from movies, speeches or other sources can really add to a good mix of music. This particular track is quite a trip in itself as a description of a strange dream as told by a young woman. Each track on the album has some kind of sample or other, a short spoken word or a long, thoughtful phrase. These samples become so much a part of the song, it's nice to hear them not full of vulgar language, but in someway meaningful and interesting. The album winds down with another of these slow-paced instrumentals with plenty of samples embedded throughout. I think it's a great way to wind down and end the album.
This is another gem in the harsh industrial world that seems to reflect so much the unfriendly world we live in. The messages are clear, if you can understand them through the distortion on the vocals, but the lyrics are also available on the band's website. So each of these things together create a full and enjoyable album.
Label: Metropolis Records