Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Grand Mood - Final Urge to March

Overwhelming ambivalence

And The Great Taste Swap Challenge continues forth, as this time I eschew the silly doom of Metantoine, and instead have turned to the Phil Lynott-esque MutantClannfear for my next challenge.  Being familiar with his taste, prepared for this in advance.  I spent weeks going back and listening to all the slam I've known and reviewed throughout the years.  Embryonic Depravity, Amputated, Human Mastication, Gorevent, things of that sort, preparing myself for what kind of brainless ballyhoo he would chuck at me.  I preempted the assault with the most saccharine flower metal I could think of, and in return he rewards my arduous preparation with... ludicrously obscure black metal.  Who'd'a thunk?

Really, Grand Mood embodies the attitude I despise within certain black metal circles.  No information available anywhere about the band apart from their name and their demo, and that's about the long and short of it.  This intentional obscurity always buggered me senseless, it's like a bunch of kids meeting in a clubhouse with a NO GIRLS ALLOWED sign outside who spend all day high fiving each other because those dumb, silly girls don't know what they're missing in this clubhouse.  I get the point of it, I really do, I just think it's fucking stupid and more often than not takes precedence over actually writing engaging music.

Grand Mood's band picture on MA shows five figures, but I'm more apt to believe that it's made by one scrawny kid from the middle of Buttdick, South Dakota, but that isn't really the point.  There's no way it took five people to put their heads together and come up with such fairly typical raw BM.  I mean let's face it, it's a pretty bad sign when I almost never listen to the style of music you play, and yet I still feel like I've heard your songs dozens of times before.  That's not to say that music needs to be oozing with creativity to be enjoyable (I listen to bands like Wisdom and Bywar for God's sake, I'm not that much of a hypocrite), and Grand Mood does a fine job of doing nothing new while still doing it pretty well.  But really, run through the black metal checklist and you'll end up with precisely zero blank boxes.  Extremely lo-fi production?  Yup.  Tremolo riffs?  Check.  Vocals either way too upfront or buried in the background?  Background here.  Blast beats for fast parts and vaguely punkish and/or marching beats for the mid paced parts?  Yuperooni.  Final Urge to March just kind of strikes me as baby's first raw black metal, and to its credit, it doesn't seem to pull any punches and try to be anything other than that musically.

Taking out the strange choice to include two versions of every track (three normal, three instrumental), this is a very short demo, consisting almost entirely of all the cliche's I mentioned earlier.  Right from the get go, you're bombarded with extremely lo-fi tremolo riffs and a mid paced snare march.  I give "Final Urge to March" and "Iron Cornucopia" a little more credit for trying to work some intrinsic melody into the riffs, and they do a fine job, if nothing mindblowing.  But with that said, my favorite track is actually "Walking Through Wind", perhaps because it's the most "normal" track to be found.  It's pretty much just straight howling and blast beats and I like that.  The other two tracks are a bit more ambitious with tempo changes and melody but I feel like it all comes together the best when they strip it down to the essentials and just go for straightforward dissonance and misanthropy.  In the end though there really isn't a whole lot to say about the songs themselves due to the one-dimensional nature of them.  Is there an atmosphere?  I dunno, doesn't feel like it.  Is it bad?  No, it's perfectly capable for what the style is and there's nothing that stands out in either direction for me.  I mean, I can guarantee you I'll never listen to this again once I press that handy-dandy "publish" button, but if somebody is looking for recs along this line (and for some reason ask me), I can certainly feel confident in pointing them towards Grand Mood.  To me, it feels pretty shallow, and after a dozen and a half listens, I don't feel any different about the demo than when I first heard it.  So if there are layers to be peeled away, it's just not happening for me.  Sorry y'all.

MutantClannfear doesn't have his own personal blog, but his reviews can be found here, and you should read them. Asshole.

RATING - 60%