Gristnam falls in line with the type of metal you might expect to come out of New Orleans. The city has birthed tons of great metal over the years, and Gristnam finds their own influences within that legacy. Not unlike some of their neighbors, they provide a scathing commentary on the city’s underbelly, while dousing themselves in gnarly grime. If you scrape through this, you will find some sharp-toothed death metal/ death-core. My first thoughts upon hearing these guys were, “as long as the pig-squealing doesn’t start, I can hang with this.” Gristnam is the drummer and screamer from Haarp. I can’t say I’m thrilled when the first two songs run together; “cells” does much more to stand on it’s own two angry feet, and it’s also where I can begin to hear their self-professed grindcore coming in. The screamer yells out “slaughter you with axes,” and that is the only thing I can make out. There is more of an explosion to “riding home” that has the growler wondering if you were smiling, and exclaiming that sometimes you lie and sometimes you laugh. They find some pretty brutal chugs to accompany the lyrics that are now a pretty scathing condemnation of someone shooting up. Unlike Tribunal, who I reviewed earlier today, I’m going to take a stab in the dark that these guys aren’t straight edge, but like most people who live in New Orleans, have had some bad experiences with junkies.
The metallic spasms really come to a head on “Wallow,” which ends with the line, “…until I piss upon your casket.” What is it about New Orleans that creates such great lyrics? First Acid Bath, now these guys, and many bands in between. I guess it’s the cross section of tourists, junkies and college hipsters riding their bikes that brings out this level of anger. They wrap things up with the savage yet one dimensional “Oak Tunnel,” that falls somewhere near a sludge-ridden middle road for these guys, as “riding home” is most likely the album’s most intense moment, and it’s hard to really out-heavy or surpass in terms of sonic disdain. “Wallow” is a blur of raging blasts and grind, so where were they supposed to go from there? This is not a band of whom I was expecting their lyrics to be one of their strengths, as you normally can’t make out what is being screamed at you. This is not the case here. So it ends with a song that strikes me slightly as filler.
I enjoyed this album much more than I thought I would going into this. Is it something that I am going to feel the need to wear out in the future? When I was a angry young teenager, this would have been most welcome, but after years of therapy, this is not where I am at; though I am pretty pissed at the IRS for hiding my refund for reasons still unknown…but I will piss on their casket.