Our Love is Different (Vitriol)
Our Love is Different, the debut album by melodic sludge slingers Griever, has been a long time coming. The group released its debut EP, the brutally badass Inferior, back in 2011. And Griever are approaching their five-year mark as a band, having formed after Alex Jacobelli and Cory Groenenberg's former band, Lewd Acts, disbanded in 2010. They've released a few singles in the past couple of years and kept up a steady live presence. And while the strength of the material on Inferior suggested their debut would be an absolute destroyer, it's taken four years to arrive.
I'm pleased to report, then, that Our Love is Different is well worth the wait. It's heavy as fuck, which is the bare minimum that we could have expected from the band, considering the four members' combined years in hardcore and metal bands during the past decade-plus. But the remarkable thing about Griever's debut isn't the volume or intensity; it's the melodies and arrangements.
In their more direct moments, like first song "Malice" (which follows an instrumental intro), Griever balance an accessible pile-driving sound that recalls the burly hardcore of Coliseum or the roaring psych-metal of early Baroness. Similarly, the awesomely titled "The Tie that Grinds" chugs and throttles, but it does so with dense layers of mesmerizing guitar licks that owe more to the progressive alt-rock of Failure than Mastodon.
Though just about everything on Our Love is Different unabashedly rocks, it has its subtler, tempered moments, as well. "The Endless Well" is one such incredible moment, with the band slowing its pummel to an ominous chug and Jacobelli opting for a clean vocal performance rather than his feral growl on most of the album's faster, more abrasive songs. And that growl works remarkably well, with the sole exception of the title track. It's the band's catchiest song by some distance, so pairing it with such a harsh-sounding bark makes for an odd fit.
I'm willing to give Griever a pass on this one awkward contrast, considering that they're absolutely not fucking around on the other seven songs here. Our Love is Different is a hardcore-metal hybrid done right, and another positive beacon for San Diego's metal scene.