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Grave Siesta : Piss & Vinegar

Grave Siesta eschew any sorts of frills in favour of balls-out Sludge'n'Roll.

In a word, attitude. That's the defining quality one might expect from an album full of piss and vinegar, a colloquialism first traceably used by author John Steinbeck as a deliberately vulgar way to express boisterous energy. Finnish four-piece band Grave Siesta have a decent track record in that department, with a couple of demos and a 2011 debut behind them, laying down a blend of sludgy Doom'n'Roll with Heavy Metal overtones. Reverend Bizarre comparisons have been mentioned in the past, though they perhaps ought to stay limited to the, at times, uncannily-similar vocals of Taito Halonen and one Albert Witchfinder, esq.: Grave Siesta's compositional forte actually being to get stuck straight in and wrap everything up in five minutes or less.

For 'Piss & Vinegar', they presumably decided that was getting a little bit too close to Prog-rock levels of indulgence, and aimed for a four-minute benchmark instead. It's quite a noticeable change: 7 tracks in half an hour flat is, by Doom standards, pretty much Punk brevity, as practised in the rough-and-ready blitzkriegs of the early NWOBHM pioneers who translated that hard-fast-and-DIY ethos into a Metal framework. Cramming approximately the same amount of total heaviness as a typical Doom venture into about a third the duration gives it much the same guitar-laden, swaggering, metalinyerfuckenFACE relentlessness as bands like Raven or Tank - but doomed down by a rhythm section now firmly anchored in grimy, bluesy, Postcore-influenced Sludge reminiscent of the likes of Centurions Ghost.

The other noticeable change is in a clearer and more distinct production in which every battering drumbeat, every clattering rumble of unbelievably low-strung bass, every venomous shriek, howl and yell sits in its own space beside the energetic guitar leads. It has a somewhat raw and live feel to it, too, with instruments consistently biased to left and right channels, adding a spatial element as though watching the band perform on stage.

There's a fairly mixed bag of tempos on offer, and, as the pace cranks up, the Doom factor naturally tends to decrease: listen to the fastest piece, 'Pile Of Tongues', on its own and you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd just bought a Celtic Frost-inspired Thrash album - then contrast that with the sludged-out Candlemass vibe of 'Whispers Of The Worm'! It's fairly clear Grave Siesta don't feel especially bound to any particular convention, except perhaps the "so heavy you can't lift it off the turntable" one, and apply the same enthusiastic aplomb for delivering that, wherever their musical musings might currently take them.

Although the lyrics acompanying those musings are quite audible, they're - in English, at least - somewhat disjointed and incoherent. They mostly end up in angry, scathing and antagonistic phrases anti- such topics as war, civil war, religious war, more war and, obviously, sea-monsters...though come down a little more on the pro- side when addressing fornication. A bit like all of Robert E Howard's literary works condensed into a couple of dozen verses. It doesn't matter in the slightest, though - this isn't an exercise in high fiction, it's finding suitably furious subject material to passionately declaim over the bulldozing instruments.

If you're getting an impression there's not a lot of subtlety or originality here, that's pretty much the case. The simple card sleeve offers no great distraction, or information - a presentation as no-frills as the music it contains - and you'd perhaps not want the album to go on much longer than it does, given how remorselessly full-on it is. But that's fine: Grave Siesta are joining a long and noble line of bands who just want to balls-out rock you like a hurricane with their infectiously 'Piss & Vinegar' attitude. Sure, even if that's your thing, you probably don't actually need another example of it, but this stands up well enough that you surely wouldn't be disappointed if a copy came your way.

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
1. Tyrant Pleasures
2. Coffinborne
3. Seamen Swallow'd
4. Warwhore
5. Pile Of Tongues
6. Knight Of A Bent Lance
7. Whispers Of The Worm

Duration : Approx. 32 minutes

Visit the Grave Siesta bandpage.

Reviewed on 2016-01-11 by Mike Liassides
Rotten Copper
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