Album: Product of Self-Hatred (EP)
Chances are, if you’re old enough to be reading this, you’re old enough to have suffered the loss of someone you held dear. Assuming you were at least 10-12 years old—old enough to understand the permanence of death and the value of life—you probably went through some phases as a method to deal with and process this loss. This process, overall, is called grief, and it can become complicated, blending with elements of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders to create something bitter, aggressive and…well, messy. Something that sounds a lot like the debut EP by Grieve, titled Product of Self-Hatred. Boasting a broad smattering of lyrical content and a diverse approach to unloading crushing contemporary metalcore in heaps, Grieve have created a prodigally powerful breakout effort. Loaded with loathsome aggression and introspective, depressive elements alike, Product of Self-Hatred is a punishing whirlwind of a release that spends all fifteen minutes of its runtime beating the listener over the head with raunchy breakdowns and ruthless salvos of nu-metal tinted metalcore that doesn’t stop until the release reaches a close.
Fifteen minutes of pure energy, Product of Self-Hatred starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up in the slightest. Throughout a collection of five furious cuts, Grieve blend raw metalcore with elements of contemporary nu-metal/nu-metalcore and downtempo deathcore to create something scathing and aggressive. Tracks like “Snake Eater” and “Blank” see bouncy, explosive percussion serve as a firmament for ferocious, frantic riffs that segue into spine-shattering breakdowns without fault. Others, like “Rib Cage” are pissed off from start to end, relying less on a dynamic between nu-metal, metalcore and deathcore and more on obscene amounts of brutality that last the track’s entire duration. Instrumentally, that’s how Grieve construct Product of Self-Hatred—in a word, it is pure energy—in that no matter what Grieve go for, they do it with every ounce of endurance and stamina they can collect. The downside is that ultimately, very little of what Grieve bring to the table is new (as opposed to nu). Each of the five tracks is a strong but safe example of contemporary metalcore. Make no mistake; they hit what they’re aiming for with brilliant accuracy, however in a time where Barrier, Sworn In, VCTMS and Weeping Wound have made enormous leaps in blending heavier elements of metal’s subgenres with elements of nu metal and contemporary metalcore, Grieve’s approach is somewhat predictable. Even so, every second of Product of Self-Hatred’s instrumentation will keep the listener’s head moving and feet tapping—what more can you really ask for?
Vocally, it’s a relief to say that Grieve aren’t as content to play it safe. Much of Product of Self-Hatred’s vocal element is a shrill yell, however there are countless examples of vocal diversity—especially on “Blank” and “Rib Cage,” where the band’s frontman oscillates hither and to between piercing high screams and grisly low bellows. This mirrors the band’s lyrical content which carefully but confidently strides the line dividing immolating self-hatred and incinerating disgust for the world around us. Both introspective and hate-espousing, Grieve’s vocal element is an excellent complement to their instrumental array, bringing something new and fun to their dynamic without sacrificing energy or emotion.
Product of Self-Hatred is energetic, eviscerating and—dare I say it—fun. At no point during the band’s brief fifteen minute display of power does their cadence waver or falter. Has much of it been done before? Sure—but it’s been done a hell of a lot worse by many bands that make the same effort. Grieve have constructed a bold and ear-catching debut EP that, despite being literal years in the making, is a strong and prominent step forward from a promising newcomer to the underground heavy music scene.
For Fans Of: VCTMS, Sworn In, Barrier, The Gloom in the Corner, With Locusts and Liars
By: Connor Welsh