You know that feeling when there’s a word you’re looking for, and you know that word exists, and you know exactly what it means, but you forget what the word is? Well for a couple of weeks recently I struggled to the point of sleeplessness, trying to remember what adjective I knew perfectly described a certain television archetype exemplified by precocious, cynical high school girls including (but not limited to) Daria and, to a slightly lesser extent, Lindsay Weir. All in all, a very frustrating experience that truly tried my resilience, and English degree.
Well if you haven’t guessed it yet, the word was sardonic. Sardonic. What a great word. Let’s consult Merriam-Webster:
Well there you have it. Sardonic is exactly what those girls are. And I couldn’t be happier to have finally remembered what word I was looking for, because it was just in time for my review of the new Grizzlor EP, When You Die, which, as luck would have it, can’t possibly be better described by any word that isn’t sardonic.
In terms of its sentiment, anyway. If you want to talk sonics, well then Grizzlor sounds like a robot alien. A sardonic robot alien, from the planet Sardonia. He has travelled vast stretches of time and space to visit our humble planet, and boy is he unimpressed. A bunch of stupid, lazy assholes. He is quick to leave, and en route back to Sardonia he passes the time by drumming his slimy robot fingers on the dashboard of his interstellar vessel, and singing songs to himself that mock that pathetic race he so recently had the displeasure of observing. The result is this EP.
Of course, I could be wrong, and it’s pretty hard to make out most of the lyrics, as would be expected coming from a life form so vastly foreign to our own. But it’s certainly the feeling I get. The first line on the first song, “No Time”, is, “I AIN’T GOT TIME TO DO FUCKING NOTHING“, and it made me laugh. Out loud. I don’t know why, it just hit me out of nowhere, in this fuzzy, echoey, “through the aether” kind of tone, and with a vocal inflection that made it sound more like an insult than a confession. It also really lumbers forward, in a way that reminds me once again of Daria. She’s never exactly in a rush to deliver an insult, nor is she easily persuaded to rise above her usual monotone. It’s not say that this music lacks energy – and by the 2nd song, “Plaster Cowboy”, we’re going full throttle a la “Honey Bucket” – but you just get the sense that the Sardonians barely think you’re worth their time, that you should be flattered that they put the effort into deriding you.
This kind of wu wei trudge that Grizzlor takes through interplanetary landscapes of sardonic sludge is perfected in the EP’s next song and first single, “Stoned”. Burlap sacks full of gravel, rusted buckets full of tar, other hackneyed comparisons that I’m not the first to invoke. The basic tracks at least do a great job of sounding less like drums, guitar, and bass, more like a single thing. Oh yeah, I forgot, an alien robot. But that same sentiment is maintained: what a bunch of stupid, lazy assholes. And of course, it’s accurate, because that’s what humans generally are. And when space aliens finally come to observe us (as they probably already have), they’ll do just what the Sardonians do here, and leave immediately and silently. Because we’re not worth their time. Their fucking spacetime.
Oh btw the last song on the EP is called “Mini Spaceship”, meaning every bit of the alien robot theory I have outlined above is rock fucking solid.
When You Die is a great release by a band with a bright future. It was put out by Money Fire Records, who seem to be doing a bunch of cool things these days, when it comes to heavy, noisy, and irreverent bands from Brooklyn and elsewhere. You can stream the album here, or just buck up and buy it for the paltry asking price of $2. Earth money.
Oh, and don’t forget to catch Grizzlor on Saturday, November 15 at the SLUDGEFEAST!