Grappler’s record, Everything I’ve Ever Feared, will be released on the 21st of April this year at Power Lunches in Dalston. Support comes from Cavalcades and Spring Goddess, doors are at 6.30pm. This is important, because it promises to be something else.
The London/Leeds/Grenoble quintet have done something remarkable, in shoehorning a great deal of material into the 6 tracks presented here. Rarely does one get to experience so much that resonates on one record, devoid of superfluous wittering and posturing. Following their Callow EP, Everything I’ve Ever Heard dispenses with any prior standard hardcoreisms to deliver a bare, writhing, uncomfortable release of some considerable potency. Using the track Callow as a loose jumping-off point, this is a much deeper piece of work.
Opening with The Best Have Formed A Crown, the dissonance and rage boils knowingly until its nail-spitting release. Running from reflective, cosseting passages to grimly bouncing HC before petering out Oxbow-like, the stage is set for this thundering rollercoaster. Stories Of Madness, Of Violence is pitch black; the distant, booming drums and room-dry vocals giving the track an affecting dose of humanity. Singer Jon’s weaknesses, laid so bare against the spartan instrumentation, are heart-wrenching. Hardcore’s very DNA is built of visceral outpouring, of feral release, and in this vein Grappler acquit themselves expertly.
Edward comes in on edge, the churning guitar work framing the vocals, until the doom laden drop hits at the 2:00 marker. Calling lost Canadian firebrands Cursed immediately to mind, this is the thickest point of the record. Even the overuse of ‘black’ in the lyrical content takes on a potent weight. That the track closes with the bare-bones bravery of It’s ME, God-era Breach is the highest compliment I can bestow, and like Day-Lewis in Lincoln, Grappler stay committed in this feeling to the end.
At the close of Edward, the pared-down intro to Panacea is well-judged, the track’s restraint evaporating at 1:44 as the band cut loose, pulling back again before ploughing a furrow in the ground beneath them. There is more old school HC evident here than on the rest of the record, the plunging riffs leading into title track I’m Everything I Ever Feared nicely(love the count in from one track to another-nice touch). It is, indeed, a tough gig to balance weight of this nature with the delicacy on display, and for this Grappler are to be commended. Slowing each subsequent section of the track is a well-implemented device, adding gravity and severity to proceedings as the song progresses, without simply amping up the distortion.
Final track Raised contains as much vitriol and rage as all that preceded it, the vocals alone being absolutely crushing. Its tale of ascension is quite beautiful in its parent/child message. Sounding as personal and severe as the rest of the record, and yet possessed of even more mood changes, this track contains glockenspiel, high, wordless female vocal and some truly savage moments; the last 30 seconds are potent in the extreme, even more so for their brevity.
When I am introduced to a band I genuinely like, my tendency is to gush over them, treating every moment of triumph with undulating reverence. In this case, I believe the adulation is justified. That I felt compelled to mention Breach, Oxbow and Cursed in this review, speaks in volumes. I am genuinely excited about seeing Grappler live, and I hope against hope that this record does extremely well, as it deserves to. Honestly, magnificently, emotionally excellent.
Watch the video for I’m Everything I’ve Ever Feared: