Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Grenouer-Unwanted Today

Mausoleum Records

Due to drop on March 20th, "Unwanted Today" is the eighth full-length album from long-standing band Grenouer. That's not even taking into account the various demos, EPs, odd single and splits that this four-piece outfit has released since first forming way back in 1992. How that makes this band a "New breath of modern rock-metal from Saint Petersburg, Russia" then is beyond me! As odd as a opening/rant as that might be those are the exact words that open up Grenouer's promo for album number eight so it does seem a bit strange to toss out a word like "new" in regards to a band that first formed when I was still in high school! Maybe just maybe this Saint Petersburg band, with their Dualized (Mnemic, Voodoo Highway, Travis Cold) -produced new 13-track album here, is talking about their latest style as the Metal Archives has them taking the leap from thrash/death metal early on to industrial metal before finally landing squarely on rock/metal map that stands before us? If so that would make a bit more sense as (frankly-speaking here friends) that seems to be a trend for quite a few of Russia's more long-standing acts. The pogoing from one genre to another that is! Which brings us all the way back around to the latest "styling and profiling" sound that is Grenouer. Let's have more of the promo material if we can as the following statement is actually more telling about this band's latest LP. "The vocals reminiscent of Devin Tonwsend type prog-metal, while the guitars produce radical riffs not unlike Meshuggah" we read from Lukas Hendrik over at Rock Hard Magazine and (true to form) that's as good of a start as any for "Unwanted Today". Lead singer Andrey Ind (ex-C.O.D., ex-Tartharia) does have some Devin Tonwsend going for him, but quite honestly I prefer Grenouer's front-man over his "name that vocalist influence" counterpart! The truth is Andrey has a nice range going on and he breaths life into what can often-times be a difficult form of metal to fully embrace. Modern metal like this has it's own kind of built-in audience (of which I'm admittedly not a regular attendant) and there are plenty of sales figures to back that fact up. But, while I love the emotional vibe of rock/metal like this it always feel a tad artificial to me. That's not necessarily the case with these rockers. Together with Alexander Motor (guitars), Al Bolo (bass) and Danny D (drums) our main man Andrey cuts a nice path across Russia's cold landscape with material that is warmly-inviting. When Grenouer is in deep those ill feelings I have for modern metal lighten up even if I would be hard pressed to point towards any particular stand-out numbers. Even with all the special guests that invited special guests that Grenouer invited to the party it still strikes me that much of "Unwanted Today" blurs together. For the curious those guests would be Eddy Cavazza (John Wetton, Anthony Phillips) on guitar along with vocalists such as Demian Von Dunkelwald (Overunit Machine) and Enrico "Erk" Scutti (Figure Of Six). There is even an opera singer in Dmitriy Yankovskiy (Helicon Opera, NeoClassic Project) which one would think might add a little zing to the mix. Sadly it's still just Grenouer doing their thing. So, what does all of that exactly mean in the end? Well, as an outsider looking in the album "Unwanted Today" made for a pleasant enough listening experience even if it was one which I'm not likely to indulge in ever again. For everyone else it would simply depend on how much you were into the whole rock/modern metal sound. For those who are crazy about the scene a release like "Unwanted Today" might be worth a listen. But even then it's not likely that this will be the album to push over Grenouer over the hump. Just like every other form of metal the one that Grenouer is stepping into is way over-crowded! It's takes a lot for your voice to be heard with thousands of other bands vying for attention especially when you are late to the main event to begin with! That's not to say that Grenouer cannot pick up a few more fans along the way. They likely will especially with a label like Mausoleum Records behind them. But as far as being the next big thing in modern metal? I'd take a pass on that bet friends.....

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