Last updated on 2 October 2020
Do you like diving? I do. Or at least, I did. Because Corona killed all the joys of life for the moment. Boy, you can’t even get no beer of that name no more. They just shut the factory down in Mexico, which is a bummer.
But when diving was still en vogue not so long ago, I did enjoy that peace and quiet down there in those blue waters. Corals, colorful fish – and the occasional dread when a shark eyes you too closely.
But the farther you go down, the murkier things become. Darkness prevails, and soon you will enter the realm of Davy Jones’ Locker. You see, the world-famous pirate franchise made us believe that the music down there is somehow dominated by tentacle-operated organs.
But I beg to differ.
Grim Ravine just happened to our earphones. And their first truly full-length album It’s a long way down, To Where You Are just pulls you – well – down into that darkness.
It is as if our friend Davy met with the mighty Cthulhu at 3’000 leagues beyond the sea, and they started to make music. Out of that tentacled reunion spawned that kind of darkened, totally sludgy Doom Death Metal that just hooks you. This feels a bit like The Sticky Ones who got themselves a depression and moved on with that dark and dreary sound.
It’s a long way down, To Where You Are takes no prisoners. Grim Ravine‘s downturned guitars just have at it with a terrible, doomish force. Already The Weight Is Upon You pulls you mercilessly down with that taste of pretty blackened, dark, and doom-laden Death Metal. Complete with a few Tethra-esque clear voice interludes that I found refreshing.
But those hissy, snarly growls really take center-stage. Together with that cleverly used bass and the ominous ambient shenanigans, Grim Ravine create a soundscape to reckon with. Fascinating and somewhat hypnotic, you indeed expect to see the mighty Cthulhu emerge from somewhere out of the murky depths of the seaweed forest.
Albeit that not all is totally groovy on It’s a long way down, To Where You Are. Some parts have a tendency to gripe, and gripe hard. The last part of Past Decay – for instance – again plagues ye with those endless repetitions that should not be there. It’s a consistent issue with this peculiar songwriting.
Stretching your tracks out unnecessarily will not lend credence to a record. Instead, it turns good material into tedious affairs. And I don’t wanna drown forever in moody doom whilst these two terrors wrangle about their music. This – sadly – turns many a part of this record into some sort of muddy sludgegazing that rides on an overabundance of fuzz. And we deplore that.
Yet again, the crew over here was transfixed by that hollow mourning of the cello on Barren Grounds that seamlessly flows into those tenebrous sounds of doom. Something that an Esogenesi could not have done better. Or take the slowly grinding beat of Earth to Dust that so juicily latches on to its predecessor. This is one powerful piece with its darkly forceful progression that takes on steam after around 1/3 of the track.
So, in essence, It’s a long way down, To Where You Are is a record of hot and cold. It sometimes felt like drowning in a sea of tearful sludge that comes to your earphones in untidy heaps. On the other hand, the band almost outstayed its welcome with those lengthy stretches of gazing about their pedals.
Yet, paradoxically, this perceived abject lengthiness only ended up in a somewhat crisp 44 minutes of total airplay or so. Which is no long stretch to bear, if we compare it to other sins committed in the metal multiverse.
By and large – however – It’s a long way down is an artful piece of Extreme Metal. Grim Ravine created an atmosphere of dread, doom, and terror. With a careful injection of metal shards taken freely from the realms of Death, Doom, and Black Metal. Mix in some ambients and disturbing clear vocals and you have a metal medley of tasty, sludgy doom. Something we definitely want more of. And so will you, Cthulhu’s call is powerful. Make no mistake.
Get dat tune: