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

2018-02-18
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

2018-02-15
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

2018-02-14
Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

2018-01-30
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more

2018-01-18
Christian Burchard RIP – Multi-instrumentalist Christian Burchard, who founded the seminal band Embryo in 1969, has died at the age of 71. His January 17 passing was announced on the band's Facebook page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

FM - Black Noise – The reissue of the second album by this excellent Canadian trio has been long awaited by many. A rather nonstandard three-piece, their most unique feature was the substitution of mandolin/violin for...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues