REVIEW: Grievance – E.M.B.F.T.W. [EP/2019]

Artist: Grievance  

Album: E.M.B.F.T.W. – EP 


The word Grievance has several meanings—two, however, are most commonly used and most readily pertain to the so-names New Jersey metalcore outfit. The first meaning of the word is synonymous with injustice, and if you haven’t noticed, injustice is abundant in 2018-2019’s version of the United States (and, indeed, the world). This same injustice is the fuel for the vicious, primal nature of E.M.B.F.T.W., from the first lines of “Manifest Destiny” this is abundantly clear. The second meaning is one akin to a complaint—as in, blast this EP too loud, and your neighbors might file a noise grievance. The point between the two is that Grievance are a grisly, frantic and furious amalgam of traditional metalcore with a contemporary penchant for punishing aggression driven by the injustices that about in this day and age. Visceral and gritty without feeling unpolished or sloppy, Grievance’s formal debut is ten minutes of some of the most relentless music to emerge from the Jersey scene in some time—making it an excellent way to usher in 2019.  

E.M.B.F.T.W. is straightforward and rough around the edges in all the right ways. In its purest form, it is a bone-breaking amalgamation of metalcore—both past and present versions—with a splash of the no-bullshit aggression one might expect to find between the covers of a beatdown record. Grievance are muddy, filthy heaviness, and beyond that, bickering about a genre serves little purpose. The percussion throughout the 10 minutes of pure terror that is E.M.B.F.T.W. is immense, limitless in its efforts in pummeling the listener into the ground. From the onset of “Manifest Destiny,” this is true. “Fencewalker (Inherited Ignorance),” another barn-burner of a track where the percussion is constant and abrasive, working excellently with low, gritty base and an energetic, riff-heavy salvo of guitar work that finishes off E.M.B.F.T.W. with a raunchy bang. The bass and guitars work brilliantly throughout the record, in concert with its gritty production and rough-around-the-edges finish, to give Grievance’s formal debut appeal to those well versed in traditional metalcore, although with enough production and bass-heavy sound to give new jacks an equally likely chance to become hooked on their sound. Some tracks–”Fencewalker (Inherited Ignorance),” as well as “Landfill”–favor simple, blunt riffs in dialectic with devastating breakdowns to make a point, whereas the introductory number, “Manifest Destiny” goes right for the throat. All things considered, Grievance are not a band bound to use their musicianship subtly; instead, they are a four-alarm fire, set on burning down any venue they step foot in. 

The same raw, chaotic energy defines Grievance’s vocal and lyrical efforts. Built on a bastion of outrage and aggression, the lyrics on E.M.B.F.T.W. are a perfect counterpart to their vector—blistering, raw and emotional shouts, screams and bellows from the band’s frontman. Lashing out and anything and everything within reach, Grievance strike without precision—but with remarkable energy—on every track that E.M.B.F.T.W. contains. Songs like “Manifest Destiny” and “Fencewalker (Inherited Ignorance)” are brazen, with practically no sense of tongue-in-cheek nature. Others–”Punishment”–while still direct are less to-the-point in their own right. This is all while a cavalcade of grating, grisly yells and raw, throat-shredding mid-range screams gnaw away at the listener, making every track equal parts catchy and crushing. 

Grievance have earned themselves quite a name In the underground heavy music community based on a strong local presence, early success with “Landfill” and, frankly, some panache without much other music to show for it—that changes with E.M.B.F.T.W. With their debut EP, Grievance cash in every check their reputation wrote, and then some. While it is a brief ten minutes—and the gritty, chainsaw-heavy, natural sounding production might be an initial turn-off for some, Grievance’s breakout release is without a doubt one of the most refreshing albums one could imaging to kick in 2019’s front door. So turn it up and get ready for the noise complaints—Grievance are here.  



For Fans Of: Refuge, Born a New, Shame Spiral 

By: Connor Welsh