Grayceon’s prog doom shines light on our role as protector on ‘Mothers Weavers Vultures’

Photo by Rohini Moradi Sweeney

Our roles as stewards of nature and the entire world around us is a bloodied ballad that’s been suffocated by certain members of the United States government, treating our woes as a hoax, while others continue to fight to save the place we live so that it’s here for generations beyond us. There are some signs of hope moving forward, but the struggle against science deniers looks unending.

And it’s not just them. We all have a role in how healthy the environment is, and all of us fail in some way. But having a caring, nurturing attitude toward our world could play a major role in keeping it inhabitable. We are caregivers for this planet, a major theme on “Mothers Weavers Vultures,” the excellent new record from Grayceon, one their most sobering and vital to date. Musically, the band’s progressive doom sounds as rich and powerful as ever five records into their run. Their words always held a lot of weight, but what Grayceon—vocalist/cellist Jackie Perez Gratz, guitarist Max Doyle, drummer Zack Farwell—bring on this record involves us all and serves as a reminder that even as many of us try to do our best for our surroundings, we also can be destroyers if we drop our guard.

“Diablo Wind” dawns with Gratz’s cello scraping as guitars open up, and the energy kicks in. “The fire winds are coming strong, the future is dark, future is dark,” she warns ominously before the track sweeps, and Gratz’s vocals go from ethereal singing to piercing shrieks. The playing jolts and loosens foundations while sludge enters the mix and muddies the waters, and wordless calls soar and pull closed the doors. “The Lucky Ones” bursts through the gates with Gratz calling, “If you want the moon don’t hide from the night, if you want the rose don’t hide from its thorns.” The track plays with light and dark, softness and heaviness as the riffs darken, and the cello pours the drama generously. “Open your eyes,” Gratz prods repeatedly as harsh shrieks rain down, and the cello swelters, sparking an aggressive burst of playing. Doom drives, the playing gets heavier, and the track rips again before resting easily.

“This Bed” is punchy and agitated, and it has a strange Alice in Chains vibe, or at least that’s how it strikes me. “Yesterday is gone, is it too late to say sorry?” Gratz wonders as trouble is battled, regrets and pain confronted. The strings feel dusky later, taking on a classical vibe while the singing floats amid darker progressions, as Gratz calls, “Let us fade away in this bed we’ve made.” “And Shine On” is burly and punchy, as Gratz demands, “Don’t let them break you down.” The melody stirs as the playing carves away, muddy riffs add muscle, and everything is shaken and stirred before dissolving into mystery. “Rock Steady” is your closer, and it’s a heartfelt love letter as cello adds blankets of sound, the playing is slower and solemn, and Gratz lures, “Somewhere under the rainbow, that’s where you’ll find me.” The track then is shredded at the seams about four minutes into this seven-minute cut as shrieks devastate, and the guitars storm. “We won’t be together forever, but I’ll love you until my days are done,” Gratz vows as waves lap, the earth quakes, and a warm glaze bleeds over the track’s last moments.

Grayceon spend their riveting “Mothers Weavers Vultures” reminding us we are the protectors of the place in which we live, and too often we let our responsibilities dissolve into nothing. The line, “We are all mothers of this place we call home,” is that urgent message on “The Lucky Ones,” and as you visit these songs and the words, it turns into a needed warning that might be too late to answer. Powerful music and environmentally urgent messaging long have been a part of Grayceon’s creativity, and never have those been more important and needed than right here, right now.

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