There are a couple of inescapable things that are going to need mentioning in trying to write about this record, so let’s get stuck in:
Come To Grief have their roots of course in the mighty Grief, legendary ‘90s miserabilists who cut paths for many subsequent bands operating in the realms of doom and sludge. Come To Grief is clearly built on the heritage of Grief, but while that carries some cachet in select circles, it’s hardly a pass to mainstream acceptance. If death doesn’t kill them, then these bands never die.
The other fact which may in fact bring some degree of wider interest is that Jacob Bannon (Converge) contributes vocals on two of the songs, Life’s Curse and Bludgeon The Soul, owing to some shared musical history.
What of the album then? It’s clear that this is not going to be a good-times kind of record. From the title to the cover art, to song titles, When The World Dies exudes despair enough for the entire career of most downer bands. This is outsider music – howling rage, despair, and social exclusion.
After a warm-up with Our End Begins, the band erupt with the hardcore-in-lead-boots of Life’s Curse and we get to revel in all the beauty of this strain of filth – angular and harmonised guitars, drums pounding like your speed-battered heart in your ears, and a bass that ties it all to the dust and dirt on the floor. Pushing further into Scum Like You we’re dragged further down in glorious ruin.
this album should place Come To Grief firmly in the contemporary scum that rises to the surface…
The songs also ooze with a kind of weary splendour, balancing the raw with the grandiose and the harsh with the groovy – Devastation Of Souls being a case in point with its head-banging bounce, pushing things on before erupting into classic metal flourishes or floor-pounding chug.
In contrast, for the title track Come To Grief take a more spacious approach, almost leaning towards a cosmic sound akin to Yob with insistent but set-back guitars and (fairly) clean bass. Sometimes you need a track like this on a record to clean the palette, and here it marks a dividing line before the more languid (and maybe more ‘NOLA’) tones of Bludgeon The Soul/Returning To The Void. And ‘bludgeon’ is right, there’s little subtlety here, just the sweetest smell of solvent fumes and the gleeful grin of an arsonist.
Closing out with longest-track-on-the-album, Come To Grief leave us with a legendary classic trudge of satisfying doom that I can easily imagine running for another eight minutes. Police sirens from the street outside become a perfect accompaniment and I settle in for the riff to drag and slow further, but as with the unexpected fade preceding it, Death Can’t Come Soon Enough ends with a sudden rug-pull, and they’re out.
Since their early days (and despite citing a ‘hostile environment for doom metal bands’ as one of their reasons for breaking up over two decades ago) the core of this band have made space for a huge proliferation of grim and gleeful music, and this album should place Come To Grief firmly in the contemporary scum that rises to the surface.
Scribed by: Harry Holmes