Sadly, ‘In His Image’ marks the third and final album for the band, but at least Gripe is going out on a high note. A high, screechy, distorted note.
Review by David Feltman
The local music scene of Athens, Ga. is as world famous as that of Austin or Nashville, often associated with such indie acts as R.E.M., Neutral Milk Hotel and Of Montreal. But there’s a pretty nasty and underrated metal scene in Athens too; one that spawned the likes of Harvey Milk and erstwhile Internet sweethearts Gripe. Sadly, In His Image marks the third and final album for the band, but at least Gripe is going out on a high note. A high, screechy, distorted note.
In a short but critically successful career, Gripe’s latest album is grindcore at its finest. It’s fast and ferocious and ranks easily among Pig Destroyer’s Book Burner and Discordance Axis’ The Inalienable Dreamless. The album starts with a sleight of hand, revving up with the incredibly sludgey and decidedly un-grindcore “Seven Billion Reasons Not to Reproduce.” The track serves as an homage to Gripe’s southern roots and plays like a long lost Eyehategod track. Those expecting blast beats will be left scratching their heads and making sure they queued up the right album, that is until about the 2-minute mark when Gripe stomps on the gas.
The 18-track, 23-minute album continues to drop in the occasional southern groove lick, but In His Image is otherwise fairly pure in its power violence influenced grindcore. Gripe balances and blends Cookie Monster and pig grunt vocals with ease and precision while the moderate variations in tempo keep the music dynamic and interesting. While you’ll never have another chance to see Gripe live, In His Image is a must own for extreme metal fans.