Grale's 'Agitacion' Is a Celebration of the Riff

BY Mark TremblayPublished Feb 24, 2021

When the mastermind behind BWC Studios collaborates with members of Indian Handcrafts, Gargoyle, Cross Dog and Sacrifice, it is going to create for some devastating heavy music. What started out as a fun recording project during the early stages of the pandemic has fully morphed into one of the most exciting metal releases at the beginning of 2021. With influences ranging from Judas Priest to High on Fire, Grale's debut is a quick exploration of many aspects that comprise heavy music. Grale's Agitacion is giant celebration of the riff.

Everything about this release is generated through riffs. Whether it is the straightforward pummelling of "Meth Aggressor" or the dual guitar harmonies of "Terror Control," riffs come in many varieties throughout in ways that dictate mood and melodic changes. This is never more prevalent than on "No Justice for All," which sees groove-oriented rhythms turn into major key patterns, creating a disorienting emotional dynamic.

The EP's peak is "The Blade," with its psychedelic stoner metal vibe bringing back fond memories of bands like Zoroaster. The song's high point is a dizzying guitar solo by guest musician Luke Roberts, whose melodic voicings are simply spot on for the moment.

Vocalist Daniel Allen, of Indian Handcrafts renown, has some stellar performances on this EP that provide needed melodic balance. With lyrical topics that explore concepts of self-immolation and personal strife, Dan's tonal quality is a perfect match. From the soaring chorus on "No Justice for All" to his rhythmic patterns on "The Emptiness Project," his signature screechy voice pairs perfectly with the bludgeoning riffs throughout the record. An added bonus is all of the layering and ambiance his voice creates on songs like "Meth Aggressor" and "Terror Control." This extra nuance really help to create the overall atmosphere of the EP.

Agitacion is a perfect length at five songs. It never wears out its welcome, nor does it ever linger on one idea for too long. Each track has a fairly simple setup, and yet its still just as enjoyable with repeat listens. Agitacion is an excellent look into the potential that Grale has going forward. Even if we never get another release from this collective, Agitacion is a formative release that encompass all that we love about heavy music.

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