Most progressive metal fans no doubt are well aware of drummer Johanne James, who has been manning the kit for UK's Threshold for some time now, but he's also been leading his own act, Kyrbgrinder, since 2000. Joined by bassist Dave Lugay and guitarist Aaron Waddingham, James also lends strong lead vocals to this band, who play a style of music that blends heavy metal, funk, and classic rock into a very engaging, enjoyable presentation. Chronicles of a Dark Machine is their third release, available on Cherry Red Records.
With a style that hints at Sevendust, Rush, Living Colour, and King's X, Kyrbgrinder's music features a huge bottom end, loads of heavy riffs, and catchy melodies. Tunes like "Captain America" and "Kill Them All" are instantly memorable, with anthemic choruses and deep, beefy guitar riffs, while the intricate rhythms of "Egocentric Suicide" and "Slipping Away" show just how much of the progressive influence James brings over from Threshold. "Oxygen" is one of the albums more complex pieces, atmospheric but with layers of both light & heavy guitars as well as fabulous drum work. James' lead vocals are strong throughout, though his style brings more of a pop/funk/soul element to the bands sound, which surprisingly blends well with their thunderous attack. On the down side, a few of the songs have a generic feel, like the rap/reggae/nu-metal strains of "Taking Control", which seems severely outdated, and the Green Day on steroids track "I Know Why", but overall I think there's enough quality here that the band should start to see additional fans flock to their stable. "I Feel Blue" is a reason why you should investigate this band; those grinding riffs, massive grooves, and catchy hooks certainly are addictive.
Not a perfect album by any means, but certainly enjoyable, Kyrbgrinder (major props for the band name by the way!) are looking to be a force to be reckoned with on the heavy rock circuit, and with Chronicles of a Dark Machine they are quickly making their way towards that.
1) Slipping Away
2) Captain America
3) Kill Them All
4) Egocentric Suicide
6) Taking Control
7) I Know Why
8) I Feel Blue
9) Take Your Soul
10) Chronicles of a Dark Machine