Self-Released – 2012
Los Angeles progressive duo The Gravity Guild manages to blend a mixture of classic progressive rock styles with modern progressive metal all wrapped up with a thick cocoon of 90s grunge. Progressive grunge? Perhaps, but it’s more impressive and refined than that, as gracefully displayed on the band’s full length self-released debut, I. Think Dream Theater and Rush meet Alice in Chains and Soundgarden with emphasis on the latter two. That will get you in the right aural zip code.
The band was founded by Jay Way (guitars, bass) and Colin Simpson (vocals, percussion). The duo wrote all the tracks on I as well as handling production duties. Way mixed it before Tom Baker mastered it. This is actually the second rendition of the album. The band opted to re-track the entire disc (originally released in 2006) on its own after not being completely satisfied with the initial rendition.
The album trips off with Way’s sludgy guitar work on “Collide”. The thick rolling riff dips into that 90s groove while Simpson brings his own gritty vocal vibe to the track.
If the album were to proffer a single it would likely be “SLO”, an eminently catchy rocker: Less sludgy but still rich with that 90s flavor so poorly done by any number of johnny-come-lately bands. The Gravity Guild captures it masterfully. This is arguably the track on the album which most defines its sound.
The rolling sludge returns for “2 Birds, 0 Stones” before the band opens its progressive vein on the moody, “The Game”. Flowing guitars set the tone early and Simpson’s vocals grip the listener. The verses superbly setting up the heavy crunch of the chorus.
“Step Outside” offers up one of the album’s tightest riffs, which rolls out with an Egyptian vibe. The guys charm the sonic cobra with a thick wall of rich textures. One of the album’s stand out tracks.
A fan favorite is “Little Pill”, which really emanates with that Alice in Chains signature. While it’s a very solid track it doesn’t stand out to me as one of the album’s strongest songs. Though Simpson’s vocals do make me long for Layne Staley era AIC.
The album’s closer, “Delusional” which was not on the original version of the album, is an excellent example of the band’s growth. While one could argue that much of I is often too derivative of the the aforementioned grunge icons it channels, this track finds the band tapping more into its own style and progressive groove. It may well be the best track on the album. At nearly six-and-a-half minutes, it’s the longest.
In short, The Gravity Guild give us 90s grunge with a heavy progressive bent on I. If you love bands like AIC, Soundgarden, Audioslave, et al, then you should thoroughly enjoy this album. However, it is the progressive elements that set TGG apart, and hopefully we’ll hear more exploration of that on the band’s next effort.