Twitter is a fantastic thing. Especially when gauging opinions of new albums amongst the music writer fraternity of the Twitterverse as the latest pre-releases drop from the various sources. You know you have an interesting one on your hands when some writers enthuse uncontrollably, some can’t make up their minds, and others think we have great vocals over the top of an average band backdrop or vice versa. On this occasion the album in question is “Cold War Technology”, the second release from the London based trio known collectively as Kyrbgrinder. (Due for release on October 11th 2010.)
Diverse opinions indeed, and probably fitting, as with Kyrbgrinder we have a rather diverse band… but they are also a bloody exciting, funk driven beast of an outfit that throws more crunch at you than a cornflake coated bag of gravel. Their sound relies heavily on funk and rhythm, think Disturbed in a head on collision with Living Colour and a smattering of (həd) p.e. thrown in for good measure.
“Cynical World” kicks off proceedings and immediately six stringer Tommy Caris delivers a chunky riff straight out of the Dan Donegan school of rhythmic prowess. It is an attention grabber, bold and vivacious, by the time “four time CRS drummer of the year” Johanne James caribbean tinged vocals kick in, you are well and truly hooked as we merge into Living Colour territory. It’s groovesome, chunky and damn addictive and most of all fresh.
Having the drummer in effect fronting the band does explain the heavy reliance on the rhythm, but it is something that works so well for Kyrbgrinder. “Don’t Be So Cold” mixes up the pace, crossing from hard driven funk to sedatory guitars with ease, James‘ vocals sounding cavernous overlaying the clean fretwork. “People of The Free World” is a tune and a half, a powerhouse, raise your fist and sing-along protest kind of song that gallops along, sweeping up any innocent bystanders in its wake. There has to be a mention of the Nirvana cover “Heart Shaped Box” too. An interesting choice of track for the album and one that really shouldn’t work… but given the Kyrbgrinder treatment, it really does, providing one of the most obscure, but entertaining moments on the album.
So, it’s all brilliant right? Well yes it is… but there is still room for improvement. There is a very heavy focus on the prowess of James‘ vocals and Tommy Caris‘ guitar work and it would be nice to have more of a punch from bassist Alberto ‘Albi’ Flaibani. With such a funk driven element you would expect more of a bass rip. “I wish I could” is a superb track, ticking all the boxes, really showing what Caris can do with a guitar, and there’s no doubt about how good a tub thumper James is. The chorus is as infectious as man-flu during the world cup, but it just needs more of a bass punch. We hear elements on the likes of “Get Away”, but it needs more.
Make no mistake, this is a great album… and one that will often be reached for as a get up and go album and especially when you need that funk laden ‘pick me up’. James’ vocals may not be everyones cup of tea, but there is a definite engaging and addictive quality to what Kyrbgrinder are producing. They have already shared the stage with the likes of Dream Theater, Skindred and even Hawkwind and if they can capture the raw energy from this album on the stage, there will be many more to add to that list in the coming years.
Top album and a top band. Grab a slice of driven, funking metal and play it loud… you know you want to.