InVogue Records, founded only in ’09, already has quite the list of artists these days. Being As An Ocean, That’s Outrageous!, Liferuiner and more are making waves on the small label, and Canada’s post-hardcore veterans Shreddy Krueger are ready to bring themselves up front with the debut full length, The Grieving. Now, you may have noticed that I used the terms “veterans” and “debut” in one sentence describing the quartet, and that is with good reason. This group, in one form or another, has been around since the turn of the millennium, believe it or not. Three of the active members are from the band alternative rock outfit Secret and Whisper, which was a rebirth from the post-hardcore band Stutterfly, so it is safe to say that they have been around the block more than enough to be called veterans at this point. With The Grieving, Shreddy Krueger now has to prove that, in this case, the third band’s the charm.
The Grieving opens with “Hazel the Apparition”; from the get-go, you can tell that these guys strictly mean business. The guitar punches you in the mouth within the first few seconds, accompanied by singer Jordan Chase’s screams and some bouncy drums. Though the song as a whole isn’t the strongest, it definitely helps prepare the listener for what is to come: the monolith of a single, “Rothenburg.” With this song, Chase’s vocals truly shine, as he stretches them from the soft melodic verses to the harsh screams. He even uses a similar technique for his highs to that of Anders Friden (In Flames), which definitely earns Chase some high marks.
Another interesting track that came up was track four, “Inamorata,” which – believe it or not – is a heart-wrenching ballad. It definitely is needed for this record; considering the first three songs were punches to the face, such a break definitely helps the album flow better. The same goes for the title track, which acts like an electronic interlude while also dropping into an anthemic chorus before its end. Throughout these tracks, I’m left in awe of just how different Chase’s vocals truly are. His sound and lyrics really make this album stand out.
The true selling point for this album is just how much is covered over its 39-minute playtime. Though it begins with three heavy post-hardcore tracks, the next few tracks switch it up from ballad-y almost alternative rock, pop punk (of all things), heavy hardcore and most other genres in between. The only problem I truly have is that some of the transitions within the songs could be better – most notably on “Gods,” where it drops from an angry verse to a soft vocal-lead part that almost felt rushed to get to.
If there’s one song that I felt was the most polarizing, it would be “In Ruin” – which has a rather generic riff throughout it – yet it still holds your attention enough with both the drums and vocals to keep you for the chorus, which makes up for the song entirely. It almost feels like the band only had the chorus and the second verse planned out, and the rest of the song was thrown together rather haphazardly in the studio. The chorus makes up for this song, but it still feels like it might have been better off as a B-side or a bonus track, not making it onto the album.
This band has a lot to live up to, with coming from Stutterfly and Secret and Whisper. That being said, Shreddy Krueger is a completely different beast now, and The Grieving truly proves that, being one of the most original post-hardcore albums released this year. Besides “In Ruin” and some transition errors, this album will definitely get your attention and keep you there for its entirety. I can only hope they get put on a big tour this year because The Grieving should put them on the map.
For Fans Of: Adept, The Amity Affliction, Our Last Night, Inhale/Exhale