Featuring members of 12 Gauge Dead, Prowess and Damage, the members of Grizzlyman have some experience between them. Their lyrics focus on the idea that there's a raw instinct in everyone and also a desperate need for being human. This self-titled EP is an introduction to the bear god Shardik (inspired by Richard Adams' novel "Shardik"), who represents the animal side in us. For fans of Kylesa, Baroness, Mastodon, Isis and Cult Of Luna, this is more wicked sludge to gum up your plumbing.
I love a good Southern swing to my sludge when the mood suits me, and Grizzlyman has this in spades. Just don't expect a lot of cowboy hats and boots...this isn't that kind of ho-down. True to imagery of the cover art, there is a blackened, more extreme edge to their sound. Guitars, though drenched in groove buzz with intense distortion, and vocals waver between throat-wrenching screams and deep death growls. And that bass guitar would bring a tear to Lemmy's eye. Opening track, "Adrift" does an excellent job showcasing what all of this is about, which is probably why it stands as my favorite.
But Grizzlyman have some other tricks up their sleeves as well. If "Adrift" and "Beneath/Rebirth" are invitations to the mosh, "Last King" is more introspective. Largely instrumental, this highly post-metal influenced track sounds more like something from The Lion's Daughter. It's a slow build, but one that is certainly worth the time. The delay effects on the guitar are entrancing, and the sudden explosion of vocals after going so long without them is delightfully jarring. I am glad they included this track on the EP as it helps demonstrate the band's flexibility and dynamics.
All said and done, this roughly 16 minutes of music is an exciting snapshot of things to come. I'll be interested to see how the band stretches these sounds out into a full length release, but rest assured it will be heavy. Grizzlyman know how to bring heaviness to the table in a few forms; be it through Southern-fried blackened sludge or a creeping fuse inching towards the dynamite. I'd like to see the band continue to experiment with their versatility, but it seems we already have a strong foundation to work off of. Check out Grizzlyman below.