Saturday 14 December 2019

GRIN - Translucent Blades (Album Review)

Release date: January 17th 2020. Label: Crazy Sane Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Translucent Blades – Tracklisting

2.Orbital Grace
3.Translucent Blades
5.Electric Eye
6.Holy Grief


Sabine Oberg – Bass
Jan Oberg - Drums, Vocals

Additional Guitars, Tin Whistle, Soundscapes


Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal Duo – Grin – are back with their new album Translucent Blades – and it continues their heavy down-tempo sound the band created with their excellent debut album from a couple years back. This album is perhaps way more psychedelic and sees the band more comfortable with their heavy surroundings. Grin feel inspired by bands such as Conan, Sleep and Ufomammut on this album but playing by their own heavy rules for an uncompromising sound.

Opening song – Helix – is the song with the heaviest vocals on the entire album with it’s mix of harsh and despairing growls. Though it’s the Psychedelic Post-Doom atmosphere the band weave into the mix that instantly grabs your attention. It’s a heavy mix of Ufomammut based Post-Rock, Doom, Sludge and Stoner based grooves that has a distorted feel to it. This is quite an interesting song to open the album with. As the vocals become cleaner and softer from this moment on. So expect a softer vocal delivery for the rest of the album.

Second song – Orbital Grace – has a more “way-out” there sound with a trippy groove being the main focus of the entire song. The vocals are excellent with an earthly style of their own. The music elevates from Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal with deft precision and allows Grin to weave a magical and heavy sound of their own. The ambient atmosphere can be quite intense in places but the music never feels forced and the band play a highly interesting blend of Cosmic Spaced Out Rock.

Third song – Translucent Blades – carries on the trippy Psychedelic and Spaced Out sounds with influences ranging from Conan, Sleep and Black Sabbath being heard and felt within every fibre of this song. Though it’s still Grin’s show and they prove they’re quite capable of playing addictive space rock grooves of their own. The ambient based atmosphere can be quite distorted in places but this allows the music and vocals to blend effortlessly together. Though the vocals are the best part of this song.

Fourth song – Husk – is a more Post-Rock driven style of music with distant vocal echoes slowly working their way to the front of the action. The heavy grooves take time to appear and this is a refreshing change of pace from Grin. As the music is more focused and calmer. The vocals are excellent yet again but the highly atmospheric music is what held my attention the most. The Post-Doom/Post-Metal style delivery has a classic vintage feel to it whilst retaining a modern sensibility.

Fifth song – Electric Eye – allows Grin to experiment with their sound yet again. The heavy bass is handled superbly well and one that brings a more menacing style of music for Grin to play with. The gloomy atmospherics is beautifully underplayed from start to finish. The vocals are quite gloomy and can be distracting at times especially when they move into more Drone based territory. The final moments are taken up by a hybrid Drone/Doom based sound and perhaps the most exciting part of the song.

The final three songs of the album – Holy Grief, Antares and Reviver – sees Grin perhaps play the heaviest and most exciting riffs on the album with Holy Grief and Reviver being the best parts of the album.

Translucent Blades can be quite a complex sounding album when you first listen to this. As Grin have included a high volume of different ideas within the albums short thirty-six-minute running time. Maybe the album could have been on a little bit longer for the band to explore and develop their sound even further.

However, this is still an epic and even more thrilling record compared to their debut album and one that allows Grin to enhance and grow their reputation even further within the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Chris at Crazy Sane Records for the promo. Translucent Blades will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Jan 17th 2020 via Crazy Sane Records.