Despite having been around for over a decade, Grendel has never really been one of those bands people rave about. On the other hand, they’ve also never been one of those bands everybody hates. Like Best Coast. Who suck. A lot.
Because Grendel has occupied this artistic gray area for such a long time, the listener can easily be forgiven for approaching the group’s latest CD, Timewave Zero, with a certain amount of trepidation. And that unease doesn’t abate as the first track, “Rise,” begins. Suddenly one finds oneself with that “uh-oh” feeling, as what sounds very much like the opening-credits music to a low-budget apocalypse flick crawls slowly out of the speakers.
And then something unexpected happens: The song is actually good — not great, but really, really good. Here, “good” may be read as “creepy in the best possible way.” Strings and drums play below a mock emergency news report. It works.
Then, like a junkyard dog let off its leash, comes “Conflict Instigation.” If you have downstairs neighbors, they will hate this song because you are going to stomp to it. A lot. Same goes for the title track. Shit, Luther, by the time you get to “EPR // EDP,” with its infectious chant of “Eat pork rinds; eat dead pigs,” it’s clear that Grendel put much more work into this CD than any of its earlier works.
Verdict: While Timewave Zero may not be a shoo-in for everyone’s 10 Best lists, it’s extremely unlikely to land on anyone’s 10 Worst list. Unlike Best Coast. Who suck. A lot.