Thrill Jockey’s latest heavy signings – joining the likes of Sumac, Wrekmeister Harmonies, Liturgy and The Body in their growing roster of thinking man’s metal bands – are a doom on the esoteric end of the genre, playing drone-like dirges with brutal intensity.
Grails have been a favourite band of mine for a long while now. They were introduced to me as a post-rock/post-metal band sometime around a decade ago, around the time that Burning Off Impurities was released, but I quickly discovered they were far much more than genre-happy mooks. Attempts to label them so neatly fall desperately short – they collect and shed influences as it suits them, ever creating their own weather. Evocative of a whole heap of sounds and musical periods at once Chalice Hymnal is a trip down a whole new set of rabbitholes, a tough record to digest and a difficult one to articulate opinion on. I’ve no idea if I’ve done it justice or not.
I didn’t even mean to review this one – I was just idly listening through the few records of note to be released so far in 2017 and halfway through this one found I’d written 500 words. It happens like that sometimes. I think it’s an illness.