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Grimmage : Tales From Beyond (Demo)

A very promising and eclectic demo from new German Stoner/Doom band Grimmage.

Germany's Grimmage formed in 2012 as a two-piece Industrial act featuring 'theatrical vocals'. They have since added two extra members and changed their focus to Stoner/Doom. This initially sounds like a bit of a wild switch, but having been involved in such changes myself in early days of projects I can identify completely. It is always best for the sake of avoiding confusion to get such things out of the way early on, which Grimmage have done, with their new demo 'Tales From Beyond' being their debut release.

I had no idea that this release was supposed to be a demo until I sat down and did some research for the review – indeed with no knowledge on the background of the band I just assumed it was a full length as the quality of the production certainly compares with that of several 'major' Stoner/Doom records that have come out in the last few years. Listening to it with knowledge of this fact, I do notice that the drums are a little thin and dry sounding, but they are clear enough and cut through the mix just fine, which is no mean feat as the guitars and bass are chunky and full sounding. Everything is played extremely tightly as well, and nothing sounds out of tune or ill fitting – not something I am able to say about every demo I hear, although it really should be for any band that takes pride in their work.

The music itself moves around the Stoner/Doom spectrum somewhat, with opener 'Black Wings' bringing to mind the Stoner Rock sounds of Los Natas in places, and 'Hunter' employing a heavy riffing style and vocal delivery reminiscent of Sweden's Dozer. 'Magic Rites' slows things down, and adds some Death/Doom-esque harmonies whilst 'Wasteland' features a full on blastbeat and more distorted/screamed vocals, no doubt inspired by new guitarist Levi's 'black metal influences'.

Now it could be that Grimmage are still searching for their sound and that this is the cause for this genre hopping, but I personally hope they keep it. With all the tracks having a fresh and unique approach, the demo never outstays its welcome, despite running to a healthy 43 minutes. Despite the variety of styles, there does seem to be a core sound that ties everything together and keeps everything coherent – again not something always present on a bands demo.

Some of the songs do seem to be a little longer than necessary, and tend to feel a little aimless towards the end, and whilst for the most part the vocals are enjoyable there are a few moments such as on closer 'Calypso' where they do seem to grate my ears a little. Still these are minor flaws that can easily be ironed out, especially within a band essentially still in their infancy.

Overall this is a very promising demo from a new band. I will be interested to see if a label decides to pick it up and release it as the debut album, which is often the case amongst the underground (after all, why pay for an album to be recorded if there is already a fully realised piece of music). However I think Grimmage could still benefit to a degree from the tighter focus often found when recording for a full length album release and for me I would leave this as what it is – an extremely good demo. One only hopes that they decide to stick with this genre and not switch to jazz-fusion or hip-hop for their next, although I'm sure they would make a pretty good stab at whatever they choose to attempt.

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Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. Black Wings
2. Magic Rites
3. Hunter
4. Wasteland
5. Calypso

Duration : Approx. 43 minutes

Visit the Grimmage bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-04-24 by Kris Clayton
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