Grimpen Mire ‘A Plague Upon Your Houses’ CD 2012

Grimpen Mire 'A Plague Upon Your Houses' CD 2012Could this be a case of ‘going through the motions’? I’m not talking about the review either.

Right then, let’s introduce the band – a sturdy act that hail from the birthplace of metal, Grimpen Mire offer up their debut album here; five tracks and forty three minutes of heavy punishing doom (now there’s a woefully over-used description, but a fitting one). I saw this three piece in Stoke a while back supporting Cough and they were a tight and powerful experience, full of promise.

So coupling my appreciation of the excellent ‘Death On The Moor’ EP from 2008, I was prepared to have my fetid socks blown off by the return of the true-metal power of the industrial West Midlands.

Unfortunately I can only report an overall feeling of being underwhelmed here. The opening number, ‘Bloodcult Reborn’(no marks for originality with the song title there), is a pleasing enough mid-tempo lurch through a charred wilderness that takes its cue from the usual doom, crust, sludge, metal and death influences, as do the rest of the four well-structured and lengthy tracks that comprise this long player, but there is something distinctly lacking here that was there in abundance on the EP.

Forgive me for sounding a little off-hand or jaded, but this is just another heavy album. True, every track is a solid and suitably grimy paean to the power of the down-tuned six string, and the instruments are played well and the singer scrapes his vocal chords with fitting angst and misery and the song titles reflect the typical interest in the occult. But that is it. In a ‘market’ that is soaked through with brilliant and innovative bands, Grimpen Mire need a little something else to lift their doom out of the predictable noise of so many similar sounding bands out there, and that something else is the ability to write a decent song that sticks in your head after you’ve heard it. I’m not expecting the fucking Beach Boys either. I don’t mean close harmonies and classic pop moments, but Grimpen Mire sound like they’ve written one average song for the album and cut it into five segments. I’ve played this disc dozens of times now but not one track hooks into my memory or fills me with even a sliver of the spine tingle of musical excitement.

The groaning and leaden riffs of tracks like ‘All Mans Fears’ and ‘Cross The Rubicon’ cannot sustain interest alone – I’m crying out for some energy and passion here. A band has got to sound like they FUCKING MEAN IT. Believe me, I do feel a tight bastard saying this but I owe my conviction to the truth as I hear it – there simply isn’t one song on this album that grabs my attention and holds it. My focus wanders away and my mind fills up with thoughts of what I’m having for tea interspersed with the usual vague pornographic projections.

Indeed, there are frequent forays by the guitarist into interesting territory (atmospheric use of minor chords and atonal string bending etc), and the band do kind of hit the money in the opening bars of the last track, ‘Black Mass Hallucinations’, but generally I really feel this is a run-of-the-mill offering that falls quite some way below the standard set by their fantastic debut EP. I am simply disappointed. I really wanted to love this one, but after a good month of regular spinning, I just can’t raise the enthusiasm. Come on lads – play the ep back, and remind yourselves of what you really can do.

Label: At War With False Noise

Scribed by: Adam Stone