Italy has seen a number of stellar releases this year. For example, Mefitic released what may prove to be one the year’s best blackened death metal albums. Grime‘s second full-length is yet another in the small but acclaimed catalog of Italian greats. Circle of Molestors is a near academic study in the art of sludge metal. Although young, Grime is more than up to the challenge of carrying the torch for Italy’s sludge scene and potentially the sludge scene worldwide. With their refreshed lineup, Grime is back and better than ever.
Sludge may be dirty, filthy and thickly recorded, but that doesn’t mean the bands do so to hide their talent and musicianship. Grime is a key example. Take, for example, “Decay in Hades” in which Grime comes as close to technical sludge metal as humanly possible. The song lunges forth with jerking rhythms that stop on a dime when the band chooses. Thus, not only revealing their proficiency as rhythmic experts but also their cohesion as a band. Grime is a singular unit, plunging into the depths of sewage and slime as did the Ghostbusters into their river of slime.
The core of any sludge band must be their rhythm section. Grime knows this well as bassist Paolo and drummer Chris keep perfect time—not an easy task given how slowly plodding most of the album is. Always moving forward, the duo hold the foundations of the music together opening up space for the dueling guitars. Grime works some magic in the ax department.
The guitars are characteristically thick, mid-heavy, and distorted (as is to be expected). But more than that, Grime isn’t content to have two guitars just doubling the chords to thicken their assault. Rather, the guitarists interchange, often playing contrasting lines only to meet in the middle when necessary. And don’t think that just because it’s sludge metal there can’t be monster riffage, because Grime has riffs that will make your neck snap off.
And no review would be complete without a check of the vocals. Marco not only plays guitar (in perfect time) but also shrieks out some of the more distorted vocals of the year. Always using rhythm as his main device, the vocals take on a rhythmic assault that, mixed lower than the guitars, provides more support to the main star of Grime, the guitars.
Highly addictive and surprisingly hummable, Circle of Molestors is not only a work of art in the sludge genre, it’s just a work of art. Listeners of all genres would do well to check out Grime for an introductory course to some of the best sludge metal out there right now. But definitely check this one out with a few beers and a few buds. If you don’t have any friends, then just beer will do fine. And remember, don’t skip the intro. Never skip the intro.