Grails….your new favorite psychrock band?

SO, WHAT HAPPENS WHEN ONE OF YOUR BAND MEMBERS SIMPLY DISAPPEARS ONE DAY AFTER YOU’VE RECORDED YOUR FIRST TWO ALBUMS?  EVOLVE OR PARISH?

EVOLVE WAS THE SOLUTION FOR PORTLAND OREGON’S INSTRUMENTAL BAND GRAILS, WHO AFTER RELEASING THEIR FIRST TWO RECORDS LITERALLY  LOST THEIR VIOLINIST ONE DAY (or so the rumor goes).  WHICH TURNS OUT TO BE FOR THE BETTER.  THE BURDEN OF HOPE AND RED LIGHT (2003 & 2004) ARE PLEASANT-ENOUGH BEGINNINGS FOR GRAILS, BUT ONLY AFTER THE VIOLIN IS GONE DO THEY BEGIN TO BLOSSOM FROM MELLOW POST-ROCK-GENTLENESS INTO THE EPIC ETHNO-ROCKERS THEY’VE BECOME.

THE BLACK TAR PROPHECIES FROM 2006 IS A FINE SERIES OF EP’S SHOWING THE BAND BEGINNING TO GROW INTO THEMSELVES, ADOPTING A BROADER SCOPE OF INSTRUMENTATION AND HEAVIER, PSYCHEDELIC ARRANGEMENTS (SOMETIMES QUIET-LOUD-QUIET, BUT NOT ALWAYS).   BY THE 2007 ALBUM BURNING OFF IMPURITIES, GRAILS HAVE FULLY DEVELOPED THEIR BLEND OF ROCK MEETS RAGA INTO A HYPNOTIC, INFECTIOUS, RIFF-HEAVY MASTERWORK.  THE TREND CONTINUES AND PICKS UP STEAM THROUGH THE NEXT TWO RELEASES TAKE REFUGE IN CLEAN LIVING AND DOOMSDAYER’S HOLIDAY [BOTH 2008].

MOST INSTRUMENTAL BANDS RUN AN INHERENT RISK BY NOT GIVING MORE PASSIVE LISTENERS WORDS TO LATCH ONTO.  GRAILS CERTAINLY MIGHT BE A ‘BIGGER’ BAND IF FRONTED BY A VOCALIST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT A BETTER ONE.  THERE ARE ENOUGH TEXTURES, MELODIES AND RHYTHMS HERE TO APPEAL TO FANS OF ANY NUMBER OF GENRES, WHETHER YOU’RE INTO RAVI SHANKAR, HAWKWIND OR KINSKI. 

IN OUR HUMBLE OPINION, GRAILS HAVE MADE SOME OF THE FINEST INSTRUMENTAL ROCK ALBUMS OF THE AUGHTS.  HOPEFULLY MORE PEOPLE CATCH ON AS WELL…….

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