The band’s influences range from baroque post-rock, à la Explosions in the Sky, to more alternative metal sounds like A Perfect Circle or Chevelle, even approaching emo/screamo territory when guitarist/vocalist Tyler Slemp unleashes his fervent howl.
For some — particularly those offended by Muse-meets-Dashboard-style inflection — Slemp’s voice might be a deal-breaker. Thankfully, he proves to be more than capable as a lyricist, musing on such Gothic-tinged subject matter (mortality, demons, conflicted angst and anxiety, etc.) that the passion with which he sings is, at the very least, commendable.
Perhaps the band’s greatest asset, however, is its quick-witted arrangements.
Songs wind from swashes of ambient guitar to nü-metal riffage, with nimble time-signature variations and capricious shifts in atmosphere.
On “Lost in the Deep,” for example, we’re presented with a muted guitar lick, recalling some of Adam Jones’ work with Tool, as Slemp sings, “Give me your heart and I’ll show you my teeth” atop the baleful atmosphere. As tension builds, the quiet eventually yields to an explosion of sinister guitar and calamitous oblivion. And it’s intense.
Moments like these demonstrate the potential with which Good Morning Grizzly is operating, even if Dirty is, at times, frustratingly inconsistent. Trim some of the artificial fuss, and these strengths will become all the more potent. —Zach Hale