Track 1 (‘My heart bleeds’) produced by Kyrbgrinder and Richard Spooner. Engineered by Richard Spooner. Recorded at Fast Track Studios, Cambridgeshire, England.
Tracks 2–11 produced by Curtis Lugay and Kyrbgrinder. Engineered by Curtis Lugay. Recorded at Theorem Music Studios, London, England.
Released on Mausoleum Records, 2007.
The name Kyrbgrinder is misleading. It sounds like a gnarly early 90s death metal band from somewhere northern and cold. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Kyrbgrinder are a progressive metal band from London, UK whose sound reminds me of elements of Living Color, Stone Temple Pilots, King’s X, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Helmet, Sting (yeah, really!), Mordred, and that other band that I kept thinking I should write down before I forgot.
This is another absolute winner this week. After getting over the shock of them not coming from Norway, and not needing to protect my eardrums from an onslaught of angry riffs I’ve loved listening to this album. I may even have unconsciously forgotten to blog about this yesterday just so I could listen to it for another 24 hours.
The album opens with a meaty riff (‘My heart bleeds’) that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Stone Temple Pilots album. Or Freak Kitchen. That’s them! I remember now. The song dances along like a train across a sunny vista. Despite the lyrics, it’s fun.
The title track ‘Defiance’ opens with a Voivod-like discord that builds to another killer riff. Overall the song has a distinctly Living Color feel to it. And that’s not a bad thing. ‘Not in my name’ (track 6) sounds very influenced by Living Color, right down to the spoken elements that litters the early parts of the song.
‘The guide’ (track 3) opens with a Helmet-style riff before sitting back into another Living Color-like groove. Another Helmet-like riff is the one that bores its way through ‘Fall away’ (track 5).
My favourite track is ‘Wayside’ (track 7) which surprisingly has the feel of a Sting track. It’s a really catchy tune that I’ve found myself singing to myself throughout the week.
The rest of the album is interesting and fresh. No two song sounds the same, the album is heavy but not at the expense of melody or musicality. This is a band, a three-piece no less, that have absorbed their influences and made something that is their own. And what they’ve created is quite beautiful. This is an album that I’m going to be playing for a long time to come—an album that I will seek out to listen to, not just let random play discover it from time to time.
I can’t fault this album, to be honest. I’ve listened to it on repeat for most of the week (Last.fm currently reports that I’ve listened to 133 Kyrbgrinder tracks in the last seven days—that’s 12 listens, and doesn’t take into account the times I’ve listened to it in the car or on my phone) and I’ve grown more fond and more familiar with it each listen.
I will definitely be listening out for more Kyrbgrinder in the future. I’m so glad this band is now on my radar. Seriously, check them out.
Review score: 100%