The Grief

Any fan of the more melodic side of doom will definitely need this in their collection. However, it is such a well written album that I think it will win a lot of people over, regardless of what style of metal or music they like.
December 19, 2023

THE GRIEF is a doom metal band from Ireland who formed in 2016. Their latest release, “Crucible” is their full length debut but they have also released two EPs and a compilation. 2023 has been a fantastic year for strong debuts and I’m going to go ahead and spoil this review by saying this: THE GRIEF’s “Crucible” is so good that it feels like a band that has been around long enough to have at least a half dozen albums on their belt. Of course the individual members are seasoned, featuring current or former members of bands like SOOTHSAYER, CORR MHONA, and FOR RUIN. But the band itself is somewhat new and the fact they have put out a debut of this quality is nothing short of mesmerizing.

Every song is a self contained epic that packs more emotional punch than some bands can fill inside a full album. Every member brings something special but Steve’s vocals are front and center……this guy has some PIPES. He sounds like he singing from atop a mountain—a very clear voice that has such insane power behind it. There are some extreme vocals sprinkled throughout the songs and those are equally as impressive–I wish they were used more but it’s hard to complain when the cleans are this damn good.

The drums and bass provide each song with that low end, heavy rhythm machine that is expected in doom but it isn’t so dense that the songs aren’t allowed to breathe. As for the guitars..melodic and crushing elements alike find common ground. Basically, the band plays extremely tight together yet despite how dismal the album is, it is such a fun listen. Every song is catchy as hell and begs for multiple listens. With 9 songs in just under 55 minutes, it isn’t overly long for a doom album and is perfect for smacking the repeat button over and over. It took forever for me to listen to this all the way through because I wanted to hear every song four times.

The production and mix is near impeccable with mostly every piece of the puzzle fitting together in this doomed tapestry well. The vocals are slightly too up front in the mix and sometimes the guitars over power the bass, especially if the vocals are going at the same time. But these are minor points against the album—it really does sound great. The album opens with “The Forging” and sets up what to expect for the rest of the album. It provides a fine overview of what the band is going for here and it is a safe bet that anyone who enjoys this one will stick around for the rest.

Heavy riffs and well crafted melodic harmonies swirl together for the song’s intro before the music transitions to cleaner atmospheres to allow the wonderful cleans their much deserved time in the spotlight. On the second verse, the band switches it up and lays down some chunky riffs to drive the song back into the chorus. ‘Icon Of All Hopeis instantly an ear worm, the melodic riffs that begin the song are played with such conviction and earnestness that I almost cheered the first time I heard them. Extreme grows/rough cleans make an appearance here and are highly effective. The chorus is clean and goes for an epic approach that is as catchy as the music.

Through Fire and Rain” has a sort of folk vibe to it, due to the vocals which are deeper and take a more conversational tone at times, similar to spoken word but not quite. The guitar melodies are layered smartly amongst the deep bass, creating passages that are melancholic but also thick with doom. After a rather heavy movement, the notes slow down and transform to clean leanings as the distortion fades away. The bombastic drums keep it all grounded and exciting as the vocals slowly build the momentum back up by introducing a beautiful guitar solo. The title track is the longest song on the album and uses every second to build up a tower presentation of the album’s ideals and themes. The opening moments are a smattering of lead guitar notes over clean rhythm and melodic bass. A wall of heavy sound soon arrives and flows in and out of a solo before the chorus smacks the head with another passage that will get stuck in the brain.

A Cycle Broken” has a powerful energy to it and excellent trade offs between the instruments as they present a very melodic approach alongside a hefty rhythm advancement. This is one the more gripping songs on the album and I can’t think another song better to end this incredible journey THE GRIEF’s “Crucible” is a late year surprise that has definitely made me rethink the top albums list I had in my head. Any fan of the more melodic side of doom will definitely need this in their collection. However, it is such a well written album that I think it will win a lot of people over, regardless of what style of metal or music they like.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








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"Crucible" Track-listing:
  1. The Forging
  2. Disenthrall
  3. Icon of All Hope
  4. The Architect
  5. Through Fire and Rain
  6. Crucible
  7. Sins of the Father
  8. Temperance Lost
  9. A Cycle Broken
The Grief Lineup:

Kieran O’ Leary - Bass
Steve Quinn - Vocals
Paul Quinn - Guitars
John Murphy - Guitars, Drums, and synths

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