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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Gridfailure - Sixth Mass - Extinction Skulduggery II [Nefarious Industries - 2020]

The experimental music scene knows no boundaries, be it creatively, or geographical. With all the diversity,you may think that all possible experiments with-in sound have  been done. But sometimes there are albums or projects that changing this, for better or worse....Grindfailure is one such project.

The American experimental project Gridfailure, was created by New York musician Dave Brenner, started in 2016. Combining many styles of experimental music, so far the project has created twenty four releases to it’s name. The last of these releases is the album to hand which is the second part of the planned pentalogy. The first part, was released in 2019 by the American label Nefarious Industries. The second part is once again released by  the same label. This new album was released only in digital form, which is available for listening and ordering on the label website and bandcamp page of Gridfailure. The previous album in the series was planned to be released on physical media, but, unfortunately, I did can't find information on the implementation of these plans. Also, I’m not sure if Sixth Mass - Extinction Skulduggery II will be released in any physical form.


The album cover is a black and white drawing, made in graphic style. On a white background is a large number of skulls that form into tentacles. To the right is a large image of a skull impaled on a stake. At the bottom of the cover is a wide white stripe on which the projects logo is located. Just above the logo is the name of the album, made in typewriter font. The cover is made in the same style as the cover of the previous album of the series. It seemed to me that it’s the same picture, but on the first album the left part was used, and here the right part was used. I’m guess this trend will carry on the next album. I’ve already discussed my feelings about the cover artwork in my review  part of the first part of pentalogy, so the impressions of the cover remained the same for me - a rather interesting work that would fit maybe the cover of a Death metal bands release.


The album is quite long. It lasts one hour and thirteen  mintues- taking in  fifteen tracks of different durations. In the musical part of the album, Gridfailure presents its own interpretation of experimental music. This is a rather interesting mixture of Drone, Death Industrial, Dark Ambient, Field Recordings and a number of electronic rhythmic parts. In addition to electronics, the album also uses a large number of traditional musical instruments played by invited musicians. In total, twenty three musicians, including Dave Brenner, took part in the recording of the album. But, as I said in one of my previous reviews, such a large number of people and rich tools are a little lost in the overall sound picture. It's nice to realize that traditional instruments were used in the recording, but it seems to me that they should have paid more attention, since the overall sound turned out to be atmospheric, but rather raw. Of course, we can hear these instruments, but they come in a very fragmented form, and the main sound lines are drones with great influence from Death Industrial. The album also pays great attention to noise elements, which are presented as fragments of Field Recordings, as well as various effects. In several compositions there are parts of electronic drums made in the traditional Industrial style, but there are also parts of real drums. For example, the twelfth track entitled "Wish To Disinvent" is made in drone / doom style with a large share of sound effects. There are real drums here and their part reminded me very much of works of stoner doom band OM. This track is most different from all the other works of this album, which are designed in a more uniform way. Dave Brenner also uses vocals in several tracks. This is a distorted growl that is very close to the vocal styles used in extreme heavy music genres.

Gridfailure are a project who really need more than one play to click. A couple of years ago, when I first got acquainted with the experiments of Dave Brenner, I’ll have admit I wasn’t keen on the project. However, now I can say with confidence that Gridfailure is a very peculiar and original project with its own stylistic direction and approach to sound. I think that you just need to get used to Gridfailure and perceive it as it is. The disadvantages of the album, as well as the entire creativity of this project, can be identified as raw, unbalanced sound, controversial compositional decisions and some other nuances that each listener will determine for himself. However, now I believe that this imperfection is one of the signs of Gridfailure’s own style, which can distinguish it from a number of similar projects.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Sergey Pakhomov
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