Tuesday 4 September 2012

Grace - 7"

This is a 7" that I've been eagerly awaiting for some time now. It's the latest, 3-track, single-sided 7" from Newcastle noise merchants Grace. It was released by Hemlock 13 and is follow-on from their earlier 7" split with Tide Of Iron, which I reviewed earlier in the year. Grace feature e-members of bands including, Thirty Seconds Until Armageddon, who released a split 7" with xCanaanx (which I also posses a copy of), JINN and Break It Up amongst others.

This review is also where my two blogs cross paths. The eagle-eyed amongst you will know that for the six months or so, I've been writing another blog about my vinyl collection, in a vein attempt to kind of catalogue it, albeit pretty slowly. So I thought, as well as talk about the music here, I'd also talk about the whole package, as it's pretty awesome.

Okay, there were two options when I bought it. There was the option to buy a copy of a single copy in the 7" in either Black or Sky Blue vinyl, but there was also a pre-order box set edition, which featured both colour-ways, a T-shirt and other stuff in an awesome printed box. That's the version I bought.

My picture doesn't do this justice, but it's a thick handmade, cardboard box with the sleeve artwork screen-printed on it, which looks too good to cast aside. What's inside was equally as exciting.

Sorry for the picture (I don't have OCD, honest!). Inside, I got both versions of the record, a T-shirt that was specially produced for this pack, a Grace patch (if only I had a denim jacket!), some stickers, flyers and a badge. The pack also came with a download code that featured the three tracks on offer here, as well as the six tracks from Grace's first CD.

Another nice touch was that the blue version of the 7" came in a hand-stamped inner sleeve of the same colour. The box set was limited to 45 and I got number 39. That's the stamp on the sleeve. These sold out really quick, but you can still get copies of the 7"s. The Blue version is limited to 200 and the Black version is limited to 300. If I were you, I'd buy both. Anyway, onto the record itself.


1. Sorrow
2. Game
3. Up To Your Neck

Opener Sorrow is a raging, feedback-ridden slab of hardcore. The guitar melodies are low and off-kilter at times; the drums pound away in the background the low-pitched, hardcore growls make for the perfect atmospheric slab of dark, British hardcore.

Game follows in the same blueprint, in a mid-paced fashion. There's a slightly sludgy undertone to this track, which will be familiar to those of you who are knee-deep in the current UK hardcore scene. It's got an epic energy to it though and Grace show good progression in their sound, after their split release. The production is worth mentioning too, as it's thick but clear at the same time and definitely adds to the thick, heavy vibe that Grace is conveying. It's wicked!

The closer, Up To Your Neck has more urgency to it. It's sounds angrier, as if Grace are ringing out every last morsel of negative energy out of themselves. It works too, as the riffs are epic here. The off-kilter rhythms bring experimentation to the fore and it's crammed with ideas. The extended, instrumental mid-section threatens to go to the end, before the final blast of full-force attack from the band.

This 7" measure about seven and a half minutes in all and it's over in a flash. It was well worth the wait though. It shows great musicianship, energy and plenty of integrity. To think that we have bands of this calibre on our shores is brilliant and they are definitely worth exploring, if you’re un-initiated. For those who are though, you'll love this. The whole package is ace and has obviously been a labour of love by both band and label. Backed hard!

If you want to pick this record, which you should, you can visit Grace's online store at http://gracencl.bigcartel.com/category/music or Hemlock 13 at http://hemlockthirteen.bigcartel.com/. Both still have copies of the 7" for sale.

Also, you can check out Grace on their website at http://gracencl.com/ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GraceNCL.

You can also visit my vinyl blog at thisaintsnofetish.blogspot.com/. I'll be updating is sporadically.

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