Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The Grasshopper Lies Heavy--Every Man for Himself and God Against All
I was observing my stats today (which I do obsessively because I want to be big time) and I noticed that there was a sudden and frantic spike in traffic from America's neighbor to the north, North America's finest knit cap (or "toque"), the great nation of Canada. My stats tend toward being very....sad, but I like to see the tiny spikes that occur throughout the day as Ed and Kacy check in to see what kind of bullcrap I'm spewing via keyboard into the Interbung. It's a miserable, lonely lifestyle that I would recommend to anybody anywhere for any reason.
This sudden spike of enthusiasm (read: oddly heavy traffic) came because of a review I did for Burning Ghats, who you should absolutely check out if you love amazing demos followed up by pretty okay EPs. This spike guided me to do a review of another relatively unknown band that I have been meaning to examine, a band from my neck of the woods known as The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, hailing from San Antonio, TX.
My enthusiasm for getting familiar with relative unknowns in the metallisphere is most likely shared by the greater portion of my readers, since you probably like metal and are therefore drawn to discover bands that you can later say were "better before they got big." Our noses pointed ever skyward, we all appreciate the feeling of having heard and enjoyed a band before anyone else ever did or could, stroking our egos and making us feel more kvlt and tr00 than the average peon bunghole. The Grasshopper Lies Heavy could very well be one of those bands in the future; at least I hope they are, because I just want to feel superior to others in any and all ways, no matter how miniscule or convoluted.
The fact that I've been focusing on bands that exude the "Isis shimmer" that I pretend to have noticed first is not lost on me; in fact, I have gravitated lately to metal that either a) rejects the flat, colorless backdrop of heavy metal in favor of something more textured and radiant, or b) jacks my D-boner with the enthusiasm and fervor that can only be compared to our collective middle school masturbatory practices. The Grasshopper Lies Heavy falls squarely in the former category, focusing on bludgeoning heaviness and effects-soaked orchestrations that set fireworks displays off in the minds of stoners and garden-variety crusty drunks alike (yo).
The Grasshopper Lies Heavy's greatest triumph (aside from somehow surviving in San Antonio, TX) is that they abandon the Isis/Neurosis/The Ocean school of dueling vocal styles in favor of having...wait...NO VOCALS? That's actually a surprise. This fact gives Grasshopper an added allure; their music must now, by default, stand for itself, without having the normal critical fallback position of "well, they would have been okay except their vocalist sucks ass" that we get to mercifully force upon a countless measure of other bands (Periphery, Exodus [yeah, I fucking said it], and later Cave In [did it again, bitch]). Grasshopper's textured shoegaze sludge stands up against even the best of the rest, however, and delivers a truly stony experience for anyone who can deal with listening to roughly 31 minutes of dynamic, textured sludge (which is virtually nobody).
It wasn't too long ago that my good buddy, Van Damned of Crustcake fame clued me in to The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, describing them as, well, some kind of a band. I stop there because I don't really remember what he said about them, but I can tell you that it was probably good, since I still have the scrap of paper that I wrote their name down on so that I would remember to check them out, which I did. It was six months later, but I still got around to it, so why don't you just leave me alone and stop being a dick about it?
Instrumental prog metal is no new genre that needs to be tapped (Scale the Summit, Animals as Leaders, the best parts of Dream Theater, and probably other bands), but The Grasshopper Lies Heavy takes a huge chance and lets their instrumental shoegaze onslaught take center stage, throwing off the shackles of having some jerk moan about who-the-hell-knows-what over the top of it. Kudos for that, fellows. I hope that you stumble upon this review and it trends on Twitter or something, because I require constant validation that only the Interhole can provide, and you deserve accolades for creating an interesting and arresting soundscape for the rest of us to enjoy after stealing it off the Web-u-hole.
Do yourself a favor and check out The Grasshopper Lies Heavy on their Myspace page, or you can follow your nose to the EP download which will make you feel guilty, unless you're like me and you have no conscience.