We are back, fine folks, with another delicious pairing, ready to kickstart your end of the week. Today’s offering is GRIP’s Structure and Pipeworks Brewing Company’s Lizard King. Drink from the cup of heresy.
The Tunes: GRIP’s Structure
In true skramz fashion, before Structure was even released, it already marked the end of GRIP, the Philadelphia based experimental skramz trio. The two songs, largely but not totally self-recorded over the course of the last two years, lean very heavily into the band’s newfound sludge and prog influences that showed up on 2019’s Early Iteration. GRIP’s mission has always been to blend the artistic and musical influences of its members, and on Structure, the band incorporates black metal, hardcore, the aforementioned sludge and prog, as well doom into two songs that span the gamut of what they do best. Structure is a conceptual piece dealing with transfiguration, disorientation and “physical re-appropriation”, and boy does it. The fourteen-minute “Tether” that kicks the EP off is a whirlwind of howled shrieks, driving blast beats, sludgy riffs, jarring starts and stops and luscious open space, and that’s just in the first couple of minutes. GRIP really leans into playing with space, dynamics and stylistic twists. Ever the experimenters, there are a lot of sharp left turns that happen over the course of the first track alone, but it helps to really break you down and highlight the “descent” portion of the concept. The closing track, “Frame” is much much proggier and experimental, with a lot less structure (pun intended?) that its counterpart. This must be the “physical re-appropriation” that they were talking about. Lots more clean vocals, lots more improvisation, lots more playing with melody and space and a lot less crushing and intentionally overwhelming. Overall, Structure is a very interesting listen, and a fond farewell to GRIP, but fear not: the trio of GRIP have already formed a new band called Eternal Man, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
The Booze: Pipeworks Brewing Company’s Lizard King
I feel like hoppy beers are my wheelhouse, and while I’ve been trying to expand my palate and get my taste buds some culture, every once in a while I just want to go back to a hoppy IPA. Maybe they’re overdone, but I still like them, and I like Lizard King. Pipeworks is no stranger to the Chicago beer scene: you can find Lizard King in pretty much any spot you look, along with a ton of their other beers, but that’s for good reason: they’re great. Maybe a little no-nonsense, nothing to fancy, but they do what they do well. A bracing amount of Mosaic and Amarillo hops gives way to the subtle floral and tropical fruit notes that characterize American IPAs, with a slightly bitter but refreshingly clean finish. Overall, the flavor is surprisingly smooth, and there are a lot of subtle intricacies to every sip. The perfect way to close out a day.
You’d think I’d have my own sign-off by now, but there really isn’t much better than the tried and true: cheers, and be good to each other.