Grown Below is an exceptionally low and slow post-death metal band, and their new album The Long Now easily deserves to go in 2011's top metal albums. This monster of an album contains seven beautifully brutal songs, four of which exceed the 12 minute mark (the longest being a 17 min epic). Trust me when I say that this is enough to fill the plate of even the most exquisite extreme metal aficionado.
There is a multitude of surprises throughout this doom laden album, some of which being the use of violin, clean guitar parts and some scattered female vocals. But if that scares you away and you think that this is some type of melodic DM, you might want to think twice. This band is totally heavier than you can probably imagine, and belongs to a rare category of ambient and hypnotizing progressive post doom / death. References like DM versions of Neurosis and Cult of Luna come to mind, but for me there is one band that really has touched these depths before - and that band is Asunder. Members of Grown Below have also been in another band called Timer (which we obviously have to check out now).
Essentially, this music really seems to be a whole different genre than all other crushing types of extreme metal (which are fine, too). The difference is that it can go much deeper and touch areas in your mind that really trigger emotions and - how can we put it - nurture deep thoughts. What I hear definitely has a connection with the environment and the world around us, and this is a weird point to make -- because how can all this amplified noise have a connection with the natural earth? Yet, it does. I could imagine Grown Below giving epic 1:30 hour shows on a bill with other anarcho-crust and sludge/doom bands who share a similar philosophy.
Grown Below has this profoundly minimal take on their art, delivering thick layers of sound through multiple pillars of distortion, slow as fuck drums and totally harsh DM vocals. The music is so heavy and melancholic that at times it can become almost unbearable for the untrained. This brutally low combination has the power of throwing you in a whirlwind of emotions dark and spiritual in nature. Indeed, this album is very emotionally charged. But hidden in the noise and brutality, there come hints of powerful, distortion-drenched melodies that give you a chance to breathe and in a way become renewed. The Long Now is filled with subtle guitar effects and atmospheric keyboards, tribal build-ups with clean guitars and - last but not least - a strong bass which fills any possible aural space left. These are additional but definitely not dismissible facts about this album. This will be an hour + of music that you won't forget and you'll frequently come back to.
P.S. Remember to play LOUD.
P.S. Remember to play LOUD.