Grav-Gray

Grave Pleasures (Finland/Sweden): Dreamcrash (Columbia/Sony Music 888751252382, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2015)
Metal
Linnéa Olsson (guitar)
The sound here is quite distinctive: singer Mat McNerny sounds like he would be more at home in an early eighties pop band, and there are notable post-punk and eighties influences in the songwriting too. The results are rather interesting, if not hugely profound, with some catchy hooklines boosted by some powerful riffing. GRADE: C+.
See also the Oath

Gravmaskin (Sweden): Volym 1 (Electric Assault ASLT-10, CD, USA, 2014)
Progressive
Sofia Rydahl (keyboards)
This instrumental heavy progressive album features just three musicians: a guitarist, a keyboardist and a drummer. That line-up might make you expect ELP-style bombast, but this keeps the instrumental histrionics to a minimum, focusing on dynamism, power and groove. Fringing metal and space-rock, it’s a short and rather understated set that never really goes anywhere – but does it in fine style. GRADE: B–.

Gravmaskin (Sweden): Live! (Ljudkassetti TJUGOSEX!, cassette, 2014)
Progressive
Sofia Rydahl
Their studio album succeeded partly because of its excellent and dynamic recording; this live cassette, limited to 125 copies, has sound quality slightly above that of a bootleg. Nonetheless, there is plenty of fine music here, but this probably isn’t the best place to discover Gravmaskin. Oddly, the same tracklisting appears to repeat on both sides. GRADE: C+.

Minne Graw (Germany): Aus Geträumt (Sireena 2045, CD, with digipak and booklet, 2010, recorded 1986-87)
Folk/Rock
Minne Graw (lead vocals, keyboards)
After Ougenweide broke up in 1985, Minne Graw made a number of solo recordings, both with and without her former colleagues, but was unable to land a record deal. This retrospective album features six cuts with backing from Ougenweide members and two rough demos. The opening ‘Langeweile’ and ‘Träume Leben’ are absolutely outstanding, with beautiful singing and a musical style falling somewhere between singer/songwriter, mediaeval folk/rock and progressive. As the album progresses, eighties influences come more to the fore, with lots of synthesisers and drum machines; this material is still good, but would have been a lot better with less electronic arrangements. GRADE: C+.
See also Ougenweide

Grayceon (USA): Grayceon (Vendlus Vend021, CD, 2007)
Progressive/Metal
Jackie Perez-Gratz (joint lead vocals, cello)
Rated by many as the finest album of 2007, this interesting LP – a hint metallish, a touch avant-garde, always very contemporary – features some impressively intricate playing from a deceptively simple line-up of electric guitar, cello and drums. Whilst the music doesn’t sound improvised, it’s definitely closer to jamming than to structured compositions, so songwriting isn’t exactly their strong point – but their chops are certainly impressive. GRADE: B–.
Grayceon (USA): This Grand Show (Vendius Vend035, CD, 2008)
Metal/Progressive/Psychedelic
Jackie Perez-Gratz (joint lead vocals, cello)
Their second album is in a similar style to their first, but it’s longer, heavier, more aggressive, more assured and more psychedelic. In short, it’s a very fine piece of work. GRADE: B–.
Grayceon (USA): All We Destroy (Profound Lore PFL 073, CD, with digipak, 2011)
Metal/Progressive
Jackie Perez-Gratz (joint lead vocals, cello)
Another fine and varied LP, ranging from doom-influenced heavy riffing through to subtle near-ballads, all shot through with plenty of classical cello work. GRADE: B–.
Grayceon (USA): Pearl And The End Of Days (Flenser FR 27, with download card, 2013)
Metal/Progressive
Jackie Perez-Gratz (lead vocals, cello)
This short album (or long EP, if you prefer) consists of two side-long tracks (‘Pearl’ and ‘End Of Days’, unsurprisingly enough) totalling around 26 minutes. It’s all very much in their usual style, and is pretty satisfying without really breaking any new ground. Whilst Jackie Perez-Gratz is the only member credited with vocals, the singing sounds more male to me. GRADE: B–.

Grayceon (USA): IV (Translation Loss TL 127-2, CD, with digipak, 2018)
Metal/Progressive
Jackie Perez-Gratz (lead vocals, cello)
Like Espers, Grayceon seem to have problems counting, as this is their fifth album (although I presume they’re classing Pearl And The End Of Days as a mere EP). Luckily, they don’t have any problems when it comes to producing consistently intriguing music. Knotty, hard-riffing and dense, counterpointed by Jackie Perez-Gratz’s gothic and classical cello and androgynous vocals, this is dark and atmospheric music that really grabs the attention. GRADE: B–.

Grayceon (USA): Mothers Weavers Vultures (Translation Loss TL172-1, splatter vinyl, with insert, 2020)
Metal/Progressive
Jackie Perez-Gratz (lead vocals, cello)
There’s no doubting the power, punch or complexity of Grayceon’s music, which remains impressive and at times dazzling. The only question is how far they can take their unusual instrumental format – electric guitar, drums and cello – and how much you need to own this if you possess their catalogue to date. GRADE: B–.

Grayceon (USA): Mothers Weavers Vultures (Translation Loss TL172-1, splatter vinyl, with insert, 2020)
Metal/Progressive
Jackie Perez-Gratz (lead vocals, cello)
There’s no doubting the power, punch or complexity of Grayceon’s music, which remains impressive and at times dazzling. The only question is how far they can take their unusual instrumental format – electric guitar, drums and cello – and how much you need to own this if you possess their catalogue to date. GRADE: B–.
See also Amber Asylum, Giant Squid