The Grand Show

Vendlus Records 2008

California's experimental trio Grayceon return for their eagerly awaited sophomore effort.  The Grand Show sees them older and wiser which incidentally translates to them being darker and heavier.  Gone is the delicate frailty that was witnessed on their debut and in its stead I find beefy riffs devoid of joy and happiness.  Contributing to the heaviness on The Grand Show is a thicker, meatier guitar sound.  The focus on instrumentation and the larger more dramatic sound is immediately illustrated with the instrumental It Begins, and So It Ends.  Like a cold winter's morning, grey and wet, Sleep starts off somber and forlorn with its slow notes straining against lethargy.  But its mood changes dramatically over its 21 minute length growing in intensity and power especially when Zack Farwall displays his whirling dervish, tranced-out wizardry on the drumkit around the 5:20 mark.  This epic composition fades out in its first third only to rise again like a phoenix from its own ashes.  Like sunshine poking through the grey clouds, the beginning of Love is a Dream provides about the only glimpses of warmth on the Grand Show.  And the hazy late afternoon psychedelia of the distorted warbling vocals and gypsy undertones towards the 8 minute mark of the song reveal new layers of emotional depth.  The Grand Show is Eternal is rushing and flowing like a classically composed exercise in energetic movement that not only surges and heaves like an out of control freight train but also thunders with anger, closing out the album in "grand" fashion.  The mammoth riffs and frantic drums crash upon the listener like a tidal wave.  Jackie's vocals mournful yet angelic are a nice contrast to the steady dry voice of Max.  She conjures such mournfully sullen notes from her Cello that the listener is immersed in hopeless despair.  Grayceon never fail to excite and bedazzle me with their unique concept and the interplay between these three talented musicians.  The Grand Show demonstrates once again Grayceon are one of the most interesting and touchingly sincere group of artists dwelling in the underground.