Exposé Online banner

Kyrbgrinder — Chronicles of a Dark Machine
(Cherry Red KYRB 003, 2015, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2015-09-14

Chronicles of a Dark Machine Cover art

Kyrbgrinder is the solo project of Threshold drummer Johanne James. This is the third release in eight years, and with each outing James refines and evolves his vision for melodic, modern metal. Kyrbgrinder is essentially a power trio, so none of those twiddly, stuffy keyboards here, mate. Guitarist Aaron Waddingham is a big part of the band’s sound, spitting out a relentless stream of riffs, leads, runs, and all around metal growl. The new guy this time around is bassist Dave Lugay who for the most part sits in his corner and does what he’s told. That leaves the drummer. James has been racking up awards for his playing, though I wouldn’t consider him quite in the same pantheon as the Harrisons, Minnemanns or even Portnoys of the world. Where he really delivers, however, is as a songwriter and singer. It’s rare enough to find a black musician in the metal scene but what a breath of fresh air this guy is. On songs like “Captain America” and “Egocentric Suicide” he reveals a knack for catchy vocal melodies and harmonies that have more in common with Seal than your average metal shouter. The arrangement on “Oxygen” plays with acoustic textures and hints that James has a lot to offer outside the heavy metal sandbox. Nearly every song features a clever hook or twist that elevates it above the usual metal wash of noise, and gives even non-metal heads a reason to add them to their playlist. Well done.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Kyrbgrinder

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Robert Fripp String Quintet - The Bridge Between – Robert Fripp's latest release, The Bridge Between, is credited to 'The Robert Fripp String Quartet,' comprised of Fripp, Trey Gunn on Stick, and The California Guitar Trio. The album is a...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues