WORDS : TOM COLES
From: Gloucester, UK | For Fans of: Converge, Deafheaven, Deftones
South-West England, at first glance, seems like a humble base of operations for a young hardcore band. Guileful tour bookers, however, will note its relative ease of access to Bristol, London and the Midlands; key battlegrounds for up and coming heavy acts, especially ones willing to put the travel hours in.
Enter Grief Ritual, whose tremendous work ethic has led them to rapidly expand over the past year, releasing two EPs and performing a slew of shows across the country. On stage and on record they are ferocious, sinister and mercilessly precise; playing complex hardcore in the vein of Converge but with a gloomy, dour atmosphere, not dissimilar to a matte black Deafheaven.
they’ve been working hard on nailing their live sound, their stripped-down shows reflecting their harsh, polished aesthetic; eschewing the cumbersome pedalboards and cymbal stacks of some of their metal peers, their shows are brutal and mercilessly precise, sets often reaching their conclusion after a crisp 25 minutes
GR’s vigorous touring schedule has taken them to Bloodstock and secured them a slot at the rescheduled 2000 Trees, but around that they’ve churned out a phenomenal amount of shows and two full EPs in a short space of time. A surprise though it has been to get so far so fast, there were early signs of success.
“We’d been fortunate enough to get on some really cool shows as a young band – such as playing with Bun Dem Out at a Rucktion Records show in London very early on but we were still finding our sound so we probably didn’t give the best impression of ourselves,” remembers vocalist Jamie Waggett. “[Show number] nine was our Bloodstock heat, which we won, to go through to the final and ten was Hollowfest in Bristol. Those two shows stand out in the early days for me as we really hit a run of form. Our sound had developed into the basis of what we have now and we’d started picking up some nice comments and outside interest. We haven’t really looked back since then.”
Since then they’ve been working hard on nailing their live sound, their stripped-down shows reflecting their harsh, polished aesthetic; eschewing the cumbersome pedalboards and cymbal stacks of some of their metal peers, their shows are brutal and mercilessly precise, sets often reaching their conclusion after a crisp 25 minutes. Nonetheless their live sound is wildly varied, taking them across the spectrum of heavy music to take the best of a number of subgenres.
with no shows happening, bands across the world are sitting down to make the most of the situation. Lockdown is anathema to a band as diligent as they are, but there’s plenty to be done even in the downtime, especially for an energetic group
It’s the mark of a mature band that their influences are so diverse and yet so focussed on creating the deepest, darkest atmosphere possible. “We’re crushingly heavy and can switch from that chaos to being ethereally bleak pretty quickly so I’d say we sound pretty harrowing at times,” he states, digging deep into the harsh sounds that have affected them. “It’s blackened hardcore with crossover elements. We have a smorgasbord of influences thrown into the mix from all over the hardcore, metal, metalcore and extreme music spectrum and beyond, so we’re always trying to push our sound forward to become a better band.”
Right now with no shows happening, bands across the world are sitting down to make the most of the situation. Lockdown is anathema to a band as diligent as they are, but there’s plenty to be done even in the downtime, especially for an energetic group. As venues begin to open up, Jamie confronts the future, noting their focus on getting new recordings ready:
“We’ve been working on new material since we released our last EP ‘Moments of Suffering’ so as soon as we can do so safely we’ll be heading to No Studio in Manchester to record with Joe Clayton (Pijn / Leeched) again,” he asserts, stressing the progress they’d made even when they’re locked away from each other. “We had a great time last year with him so we are looking forward to incorporating our new songs into the set and showing everyone what we’ve been up to. Alongside that we’re also looking to play as many shows as possible and have a few pieces of as yet unreleased news coming soon.”
Moments of Suffering is out now.
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