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Grimmstine - Grimmstine (Reissue)

Grimmstine (Reissue)
by Chris Hawkins at 28 March 2018, 11:43 PM

First, it should be known that this is a re-release of GRIMMSTINE's debut album originally released in 2009.  While some may not at first recognize the name GRIMMSTINE, a look at the lineup reveals there is quite the Metal resume here.  The legendary Steve Grimmet of GRIM REAPER, MEDUSA, and ONSLAUGHT, lent the first four letters of his last name, while guitarist Steve Stine used his last name to complete the band's name.  Though the resume speaks for itself, there are times when GRIMMSTINE plays by the rules of classic Metal, and others when they choose to color outside the lines.  They hit hardest when combining their more Progressive or Modern elements with the classic Heavy Metal formula as will be detailed below.

The first track, "Memory," features a gorgeous twelve string guitar passage highlighted by beautifully crafted guitar harmonies that would be just at home on an EAGLES record as being the intro to an album by Metal legends.  As soon as the acoustic fades away, the senses are hit with thick double bass and a killer modern Metal riff which sets off the second track, "911."  Unfortunately, the clean, traditional vocals seem to clash with the more Thrash-y type of riffs sounding like what could be Don Dokken's "heavy" solo album.  More of the same is displayed on the next track, "Supernatural," as it flirts with detuned Nu-Metal type riffs.  It's on the fourth track, "Got Nothing but Time," where the band seems to come into their own sound that incorporates both traditional Metal and also contains elements that tend to push the boundaries.  The first riff of the song sounds A LOT like something from "Operation Mindcrime," though the rest of the song is solidified by killer guitar pull-offs, driving bass, double bass drumming, and classic Heavy Metal vocals that fit neatly in place.  A mid-paced classic-styled piece with some modern guitar riffs highlighted by some fierce Wylde-like pinch harmonics comprise the eighth track, "Prisoner."  At the 3:55 mark, Stine launches into a stunning minute-long solo characterized by a tapping technique reminiscent of players such as Randy Rhoads and even hints of the Neo-Classical Yngwie.  "You Give Me Love" is an elegant ballad with guitar that hooks into the listener from the very beginning.  Grimmet sounds like he is truly in his comfort zone with the key and structure.  The end result is a tear-jerker that could set radio air waves ablaze likened to hits by JOURNEY, CHEAP TRICK, and even some later "Edge of Thorns"-era SAVATAGE.  The eleventh track, 'Til They Take My Wings" reminds one of 90s-era VAN HALEN, though with beefier licks.  The last track of note would have to be the fourteenth track, "This Don't Look Like Love to Me," for it is the one song in which the bass guitar truly shines for it moves the song forward underneath cleanly strummed guitar chords.

To sum it up, the band manages to turn the lackluster almost cringe-worthy first couple of songs around with the mature songwriting present in the rest of the album.  At times this is a band that sounds very much like one formed by the singer of GRIM REAPER, but at others, GRIMMSTINE sounds very much like GRIMMSTINE.  It remains a mystery why this band didn't make a bigger mark on the scene when this was released nine years ago.  Steve Stine's guitar work is absolutely stellar.  At times he mirrors Michael Schenker and Randy Rhoads, while others sound more akin to Jim Matheos of FATES WARNING, Criss Oliva of SAVATAGE, and even Warren DeMartini in the way the guitar itself is able to take palm-muting and alternate-picking in the Heavy Metal style and make it sing its own song.  This isn't to say that Stine does not have his own style, but rather to give the reader a point of reference to how his complex brew is concocted.  The blending of his fluid memorable guitar work with Steve Grimmet's powerful mid-range vocals backed by a solid rhythm section is what helps to solidify the album as a success overall.  Any guitar player especially would greatly enjoy giving this a listen.

Songwriting:        8
Originality:          6
Memorability:    7
Production:         7

3 Star Rating

1. Memory
2. 911
3. Supernatural
4. Got Nothing but Time
5. To Catch a Killer
6. You'll Never Know
7. It's Over
8. Prisoner
9. You Give Me Love
10. Straight as an Arrow
11.  'Til the take My Wings
12.  Take this Air
13.  Afraid of the Dark
14.  This Don't Look Like Love to Me
15.  To Sing a Lullabye (Immy's Song)
16.  Two Steps Behind
Hat – Bass
Steve Grimmet - Vocals
Dave Johnson – Drums
Steve Stine – Guitar
Record Label: Dissonance Productions


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