Wednesday, 28 September 2022

GRIN - Phantom Knocks (Album Review)

Date Released: October 14th 2022. Record Label: The Lasting Dose Records. Formats: Cassette/CD/DD/Vinyl

Phantom Knocks: Tracklisting










SABINE OBERG – Bass Guitar

JAN OBERG – Drums, Vocals, Guitars, Soundscapes

Additional Musician: RENÉ NOÇON – Hammond Organ on ARCANE


Phantom Knocks is the new album from Psychedelic Sludge/Stoner Metallers GRIN. This is their third full length album and sees the band move further into the Ambient and Psychedelic side of Sludge/Stoner Metal. Perhaps taking some slight cues from Jan and Sabine's other musical project Slowshine but with a heavier and  more dominant style of music that could easily be classed as Post-Metal or Ambient Metal.

Opening song Transcendence is a heavy mix of Tribal Sounds with an eerie Ambient driven Sludge score with the music being driven along by pulsating drums, distorted droned out effects and haunting gloomy vocals. A style of music that GRIN have perfected over their last two albums. The track has the mysterious sonic power of UFOMAMMUT with the wonderfully diverse Post-Rock/Post-Metal imagery of ISIS (Oceanic era).

Second song Shiver carries on the Psychedelic and Distorted rhythms that is quite intense but melodic at the same time. The Post-Metal/Doom vibe is merged supremely well with the STONER grooves that GRIN use fleetingly to bring a more direct sound to the listener. The dual vocals have a great multi-layered effect meaning they're sung directly in front of you and behind as well. The Ambient Noises and Soundscapes are superbly put together allowing GRIN to create a heavier style of music. 

Third song Aporia is a more gloomier and psychedelic affair with perhaps some Middle Eastern based grooves appearing. The vocals are heavier and more intense here. Perhaps the heaviest I've heard from Jan in some long time. GRIN offers a more threatening atmosphere with the gloomy and sinister soundscapes doing their part as well. The Ambient Metal grooves are perhaps considered Post-Doom or Post-Sludge. As the whole tone and nature of the song is bleak and captures GRIN at their gloomiest best. The song does have a certain RELAPSE RECORDS quality to it all but still allowing GRIN to fully be themselves as well.

Fourth song Arcane is one of the more less aggressive tracks on the album and is perhaps the song that would have fitted superbly well on Slowshine's acclaimed debut album. This track is one of the finest meditative Psych/Ambient Metal tracks I've heard in a long time. Quite peaceful that is powered along by a first rate Drone/Sludge/Stoner riff that lasts an age. The lyrics are organic and insightful even if the vocals are buried under a barrage of HEAVY SPACED OUT grooves. One of the standout tracks on the album.

GRIN takes their blend of Tribal/Ambient driven music into heavier levels of Psychedelia and Distortion. Amplifier Riff Worship is perhaps the main key for GRIN on the second half of the album especially on tracks: Apex, Rivulets and Spectral. GRIN becomes a more threatening force of nature on the last few songs with the band merging different styles and creative themes that could be quite peaceful one moment and devastatingly brutal the next. 

Crunching guitars and wonderfully progressive drumming brought back memories of mid-00's BORIS for myself. There is a lot to take in with this album and the record feels so much longer than it's thirty five minute runtime. I mean that as a compliment. GRIN have included so many different themes, ideas and sounds on Phantom Knocks that you will need multiple listens to the album to soak everything in.

The production values are first rate and with Jan behind the production desk, I wouldn't expect anything less. As he's worked his magic on GRIN's previous releases. So be prepared for a LOUD and CRUSHING ALBUM.

GRIN have released another fantastic and beautifully sonic heavy record that's perhaps their strongest effort to date. This is most definitely an Album Of The Year Contender.

This is simply unmissable....

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Mona at All Noir PR for the promo.

Phantom Knocks will be available to buy on Cassette/CD/DD/Vinyl via The Lasting Dose Records from October 14th 2022.


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