Album Review – My Grimace / Grim Serenades (2015)

Make yourself ready for the heavy and melodic serenades of love and hatred put forward by this thriving six-piece Metalcore act.

Rating4

My_Grimace_-_Grim_Serenades_Coverart“From the deepest cave you hear the grim serenade.”

These cryptic words, together with the bloodstained piano in the artwork of Grim Serenades, are a spot-on depiction of the music by Finnish Metalcore band My Grimace. In other words, it is dramatic, melodic and ruthless, three of the most intrinsic characteristics of this modern-day subgenre of heavy music, and I’m sure you’ll have a good time and connect to the message the band is sending through each song while listening to the album. Their essence might be grim, but that doesn’t mean they’re not good in what they do.

Formed in 2007 in the city of Jyväskylä, Finland, and after releasing the demo Fear Gives Hope and the EP Paint the Sky in 2010, and another EP entitled Behind the Scene in 2011, My Grimace are ready to take the high ground with Grim Serenades, the first full-length album in their promising career. Combining the heavy elements found in Melodic Death Metal with the hardcore approach of Metalcore, this six-piece act aims at generating a unique atmosphere in Grim Serenade, keeping them away from the sameness that haunts several bands whose musicality is also strongly rooted in similar types of heavy music.

And when I say “unique atmosphere” I’m referring to exactly what they do in the opening track, the obscure Candidates, where its horror movie-ish vibe quickly turns into awesome Melodic Death Metal with a good balance between guttural screams and melodic guitars. This song showcases a solid songwriting with lots of riveting elements to keep the listener more than entertained, with some of its riffs reminding me of old school Sepultura, especially from the classic Chaos A.D. album. The same can be said about the title-track, Grim Serenade, a song that is at the same time threatening and rousing. Not only the vocals by frontman Jere Hämäläinen are a lot more Death Metal than Metalcore in this track, but the keyboards by Lasse Pirnes also add to the music nuances of delicacy that take the band out of the comfort zone of heavy music. In short, it’s a great tune that keeps up with the best you can find in Scandinavian modern metal.

My_Grimace_PromokuvaIf you’re a fan of Arch Enemy you’ll love the riffs found in Dire Need, a song that proves My Grimace are all talented musicians that know how to put heaviness and progressiveness together in a compelling way. Lasse, bassist Sami Puukko and drummer Roope Salminen do a superb job together keeping the musicality fresh and consistent in the background, with kudos to guitarist Aleksi Salojärvi for an awesome performance with his harsh screams. Following that amazing song, you can feel a dismal shadow growing in the sky in Abandon All, Leave The Mourning Behind, the darkest track of all with not a single drop of happiness or joy, and where once again the keyboard notes are the guiding light (or maybe darkness) to its rhythm.

Turning up their anger a little, Reveal Nothing is the first song to showcase the clean vocals by guitarist Juha Kumpulainen, resulting in a more traditional Metalcore approach. Moreover, its main riff will surely make you feel that great pain in your neck the next day if they play this track during their live concerts, and even when My Grimace slow down and get more introspective they also deliver interesting passages like the ones found here. Then we have Drink Of Death, which offers the listener another excellent riff in a very progressive and violent tune, perhaps the one with the most elaborate instrumental passages and lots of groove and feeling with highlights to its beautiful guitar solo, followed by the furious and well-balanced Red Glow, which represents the Melodic Death Metal many good bands forgot how to generate. I might be wrong, but for me it feels like the last part of Grim Serenades focuses a lot more on riffs than keyboards compared to the first batch of songs from the album, which is also the case in the last track, Twilight Zone, where we have an adrenalized Roope on drums while Juha and Aleksi make sure you bang your fuckin’ head like a maniac. In my opinion, it’s the heaviest and most extreme of all songs, obviously maintaining the melodic vein ingrown in the band.

These heavy and melodic serenades of love and hatred are what My Grimace have to offer us metalheads, which you’ll find together with their previous releases at their YouTube channel and ReverbNation page for a more detailed listen, and if you’re more than convinced this is a good addition to your metal collection you can purchase Grim Serenades at the Record Shop X webstore or at the Inverse Records webstore. Who knows, maybe these are the types of serenades you truly needed to make your life and the life of your significant other more fun and electrifying.

Best moments of the album: Grim Serenade, Dire Need and Drink Of Death.

Worst moments of the album: Abandon All, Leave The Mourning Behind.

Released in 2015 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Candidates 4:38
2. Grim Serenade 5:17
3. Dire Need 4:48
4. Abandon All, Leave The Mourning Behind 4:43
5. Reveal Nothing 5:50
6. Drink Of Death 3:37
7. Red Glow 3:58
8. Twilight Zone 4:05

Band members
Jere Hämäläinen – vocals
Juha Kumpulainen – guitars, clean vocals
Aleksi Salojärvi – guitars, backing vocals
Sami Puukko – bass
Lasse Pirnes – keyboards
Roope Salminen – drums

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