If you’re in the market for some DIY sludge-based heaviness you’d be advised to check out this first full-length from Bristol-based ragers The Malefic Grip. With an EP and some noisy support slots under their belt the ‘Grip are working from a solid foundation and this release sees them building to further establish their sound. Well, I say ‘solid foundation’ but the album comes off the back of losing their drummer shortly before lockdown made recruiting band members slightly complicated to say the least.
As a result, Yesterday’s Problems, Today!features programmed drums, in the interests of getting the songs recorded and out there. I’m one of those dinosaurs who is always going to have some resistance to electronic percussion in heavy music, but – to offer high praise – they didn’t bother me too much here, and I appreciate the decision not to let that be the thing that held the album back.
In fact, there’s an extent to which The Malefic Grip use the necessity of midi drums to their advantage. As much as they marry their rage and disgust at the fucking state of it all (‘the completely contemptuous way that those who wield power treat those who do not, the bizarre rise of a populist anti-intellectualism’ etc. – you know what they’re talking about) with a snarky humour and cheeky wordplay, so there is a hybridism in their music that combines sludge elements with more disparate influences.
Right from the off with Piss Hassle we get a strong industrial feel that side-steps neatly into a swaggering riff and howling vocals…
Right from the off with Piss Hassle we get a strong industrial feel that side-steps neatly into a swaggering riff and howling vocals that bring the venom of Iron Monkey to mind. And the ‘Grip keep things varied, from fast punkish numbers like Incel Jesus to the early-Neurosis push-pull of Worms (featuring bonus screaming from Simon Mason of Torpor). There’s a willingness to draw on the epic-ness of early Melvins and what my brain groups under ‘90s metal’ that offers something more than the one vocal style and ‘everything blown out all the time’ distortion of your typical sludge record.
You’ll find it online as a digital only release (for now?) as of 30th of April, maybe swing by their Bandcamp next Friday and pick it up fee-free!
Scribed by: Harry Holmes