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With Grayceon, ‘Writing Is Always Prominent’

Daryl Darko

Since first word spread of the San Francisco trio Grayceon, they have existed as an anomaly in the metal scene. Fronted by electric cellist Jackie Perez Gratz and joined by guitarist Max Doyle — who opts to not use a pic when playing — and drummer Zack Farwell the trio’s luscious yet dark musical landscape quickly put the band on many radars.

Their newest album, ‘All We Destroy,’ keeps the mind focused on violence. The haunting lament of Gratz on the album’s opening track, “I don’t understand how you left me holding a bloody knife” is a seducing introduction to an album that punishes as much as it heals. With acts of malice and the like staying at the forefront for the album, Noisecreep asked the frontwoman if this was another theme record like the previous ‘The Grand Scheme.’

“We wrote the songs without thinking of all the other songs we were working on. So in a way, it’s less cinematic over the scope of the album,” Gratz explains, “but each song could be it’s own little movie, I guess.”

According to cellist, the album’s title (pulled from the track ‘Shellmounds’) is asking listeners to pay attention. “The things we destroy, the things we throw away, are what we are probably going to be remembered for later.”

But what’s most enjoyable for the band is the double meaning in such a harsh title. “Sometimes people use [destroy] to say they had a really good performance. ‘We killed it. We destroyed the audience.’ We like the aggression of that phrase if you take it out of context.”

Unlike the standard guitar-focused metal bands, Grayceon very rarely write from jamming. “It’s mainly riffs that are brought in, sometimes a song is written off riffs someone is using to check out their tone at practice,” says Gratz. This kind of happy accident is what bore ‘The West,’ a song from the band’s split seven-inch with Giant Squid. “Max kept playing this really dumb stoner riff, and I was like, ‘What is that riff? We have to write a song around that.’” The guitarist attempted to shrug it off, but what became of that riff was one of the most chaotic songs the trio has recorded to date.

“I think we have picked up where our strengths are as songwriters and arrangers,” she says, looking back on Grayceon’s three albums so far. “We kind of let each other excel in those areas. We let each other grow individually and then bring that into the group, so we try to not veto things and have a closed mind. If Zack came in and was like, ‘I totally want to do this blues rock thing, because this year I’ve really been inspired by it.’ We’d be like, ‘OK, bring it in.’”

‘All We Destroy’ hit shelves March 1 via Profound Lore Records.

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