KFJC 89.7FM
Album Review

A Darker Shade of Grey [coll] – [Prank]

whngr   7/27/2022   A Library, CD

East Bay Crust Lords do battle with New Mexico Legends… everybody wins

Absolutely crushing Hardcore Punk / Thrash with Doom and Metal elements by two projects from New Mexico that were adapting exceptionally well to the changing sonic landscape. Grimple takes the slightly more conventional (at the time) approach with a blistering attack, mind shearing aggression, and shredded throats. Logical Nonsense unleashes a more technical offering with especially compelling (at the time) vocals that utilize the one shrieking, one bellowing mode made popular By Neurosis a few years prior with a bit of clean vocals and a single spoken word track (Track 16 “Untitled”) that provides an interesting though emphatically nihilistic palate cleanser after the barrage of suffering and malice unleashed by these two underground juggernauts.

This split was integral to my experience of life in the South Bay circa 1994. It is impossible to separate these tracks from my experience on this planet. So strong is the link of sound to memory, I am unable to stop from being propelled back in time. Just out of high school and overwhelmed with the gravity of adulthood, the miserable economy, lack of opportunities, and the ferocity of the music in “my scene”. I had taken 8 hits of liquid the summer of Junior year and my brain was absolutely fried. I had to abandon the drugs that had been my primary motivation for the few years prior and find whatever solace I could in the music that seemed to speak for me. In 1994 we were just post “Souls At Zero” which simply decimated the sonic landscape. Stripping bare our skeletal frames, our flesh turning to dust in a blast furnace of aural, and perhaps, cultural cataclysm. It was readily apparent that the future could never be the same and many of the musicians, bands, and artists felt that this was a changing of the guard and that intensity was the currency that provided salience. The gauntlet was at our feet and you either sat the fuck down and enjoyed the show, or your dug deep and stepped up to toe the line. I believe this album is an important response to a transformation happening in the scene, with both Grimple and Logical Nonsense answering the call to arms with their respective take on Crust/Hardcore Punk which, coincidentally, was something that Neurosis was moving away from. But we still wanted it. Christ, we needed that link to the past that was being torn asunder. Anarcho/Peace/Crust or whatever (Crass, Discharge, Rudimentary Peni, Extreme Noise Terror, Nausea, Amebix…) was a language we knew and trusted.. and we were not letting go… not yet anyway. Reveling in the visceral and evocative pushing of air and the dissemination of beliefs that were at merciless odds with the status quo and the “System” and musicians simply dripping with technical prowess. We worshipped at this altar. And however bleak the world was, however hopeless our lives were, no matter how far we might fall into this life devoid of meaning and filled with iniquity, crushed by a society that had no place for us, and doomed to fail in a ruthless game where the cards were stacked so high against us… we could put on A Darker Shade of Grey and feel just a little less alone. And we did. Over, and over, and over again. We would also see them when they rolled through or in Grimple’s case on the rare occasion when they would cross the bridge (so feverish was their East Bay pride and their Hispanic heritage) at a time when Oakland offered a very clear and present danger to punks, but they would cross the bridge on occasion, and they would slay… along with Logical Nonsense who were/are also of indigenous ancestry, contributing to the legitimacy of a message of oppression and of suffering. Something that was deeply respected in a scene built on woe. I didn’t intentionally stop listening to these bands but I had wallowed in these kind of sounds for years, neglecting compelling and incredible facets of a diverse sonic tapestry that I needed to explore… (curiosity killed the crust-punk) and contributed (unintentionally) to becoming a slightly more balanced human being, less bitter, cynical, and hopeless. Besides, I was thoroughly steeped in misery… absolutely fluent… and besides, this album was in my marrow.

Oakland / Santa Fe -1994

Fccs:

Track 1: fuckin’

Track 3: fucker, fuck, fuckin’, shit, bitch’

Track 4: fuckin’, fucking

Track 6: fuckin’, fuck

Track 7: fuckin’

Track 9: fuck, fuckin’

Track 10: fuckin’

Track 14: fuckin’, fuck

Track 15: fuck you (pig), fuckin’ (swine)

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