Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper - Walking In The Shadows review
|Band:||Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper|
|Album:||Walking In The Shadows|
|Release date:||September 2016|
01. Wings Of Angels
02. Walking In The Shadows
03. Reach Out
04. I'm Coming For You
05. From Hell
06. Call Me In The Morning
07. Rock Will Never Die
10. Now You See Me
11. Blue Murder
12. Come Hell Or High Water
I've had just about enough of these once-great NWOBHM bands wheeling out from the crypt to cast a pall on their own legacies. Bootless, biteless, baseless, and, most importantly, Bowcott-less, vocalist Steve Grimmett's self-titled incarnation of 1980s giant Grim Reaper supposedly brings an old warhorse back from the dead, but the only soul this band is capable of reaping is its own.
Look, as soon as you start writing songs called "Rock Will Never Die," you've already killed it. Walking In The Shadows never does anything offensively wrong, and it's not the worst attempted comeback an old NWOBHM vet has geriatrically carted out, but one listen is all we'll ever need in this lifetime. Full of lukewarm choruses and throwaway riffs that only drive me to listen to the Grim Reaper we once knew, this album offers nothing that hasn't grown old, withered, and died off in the years since the band's heyday.
Steve Grimmett possessed a titanic voice with a savage bite and stratospheric range, but the band was never only about him, something which this project fails to grasp - and there is such a thing as mixing the vocals so high that they eclipse the rest of the music. Grim Reaper functioned as a unit that conjured trend-setting heavy metal through the combination of distinct musicians. With no powerhouse personality to balance out the vocals, the 2016 version of the band serves as a vehicle for Steve Grimmett's voice and nothing more. Steve has preserved his voice remarkably over time, but nothing can change the fact that he has achieved a venerable age and can't climb back up to "See You In Hell" levels of dog-summoning wails. As I'm sure I said in one of my countless Manowar reviews, sounding good for 50-something is not the same as sounding good at 20-something. More aging vocalists need to take lessons from Dio and adapt to suit their changing strengths, rather than pulling an Eric Adams and trying to force the songs of their youth to remain as accessible to their voices (and fresh to their audiences) as they were decades ago.
As I said, however, Steve remains a solid lead vocalist, even if he isn't piercing eardrums the same way he once did; the problem is not the vocals, but the material to which they are applied. Even when Grim Reaper was in its prime, the band found itself rapidly falling out of fashion. The metal scene left this sound behind, this simplistic play-the-riff-and-write-it-later approach paired with off-the-rack drum patterns and vapid "dark" imagery, and that's why Grim Reaper faded into obscurity in the first place; the passage of time has not made the three-chords-and-a-screech formula any better, sexier, or more thrilling than it was at the end of the NWOBHM's brief existence. Aside from the title track and "Thunder," which at least feel like they could have been B-sides to some of the band's old A-material, not one song on this album has any particular strength or outstanding quality. This could be any band - but it isn't any band. It's Grim Reaper, or at least it advertises itself as such.
Walking In The Shadows is just a solid heavy metal album, no more or less - too mired in clichés and old songwriting conventions to sound fresh, too clean and modern to feel like a true old school gem. The days of Fear No Evil and See You In Hell have passed us by, and while those albums remain classics, nostalgia doesn't necessarily mean we need more.
||Written on 17.03.2017 by Reviewing since 2010. Reviewing competently since 2013. More metal than you since before the dawn of 'istry.|
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