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Nemesis

United States Country of Origin: United States

Nemesis
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: February 25th, 1997
Genre: Groove
1. Pathetic Liar
2. Portrait Of Henry
3. Empress (Of Rancor)
4. Descending Darkness
5. War Between One
6. Scream At The Sky
7. Silent Stranger
8. The Summoning
9. Rusty Nail
10. Myth Or Man
11. Code Of Silence


Review by Felix on February 3, 2024.

Grip Inc. started with an overwhelming debut and so it came as no surprise that they had to struggle in order to design an equally strong successor. The band decided to choose a more variable approach. Classic thrash metal was still dominating, but it was mixed with atmospheric components. "Empress (of Rancor)" led on to "Descending Darkness" and both tunes possessed an ominous aura, which was inter alia created by the integration of fragile yet sinister keyboard lines. Apart from that, cautious parts and screaming guitars alternated with each other with the effect that the band put the listener in a state of permanent restlessness. This situation was definitely intended and a song like "Code of Silence" underlined the assumption. Its extremely effervescent part also had the purpose to shock the audience.

But the musicians also remained true to themselves. Especially "War Between One" flirted almost painfully with the intensive songs of the debut. I am talking in particular of "Hostage to Heaven". "War Between One" possessed exactly the same kind of razor-sharp riffs and the equal level of aggression. Due to the fact that "Hostage to Heaven" had been one of the highlights of the debut, it was only logical that its successor also satisfied all thrash metal fans in a very enjoyable manner.

Speaking of thrash metal, "Nemesis" was released in 1997, just one year before Slayer began to slay their reputation with the release of the inconsequential "Diabolus in Musica". This hint makes clear that thrash metal bands were not immune against new trends at the end of the millennium. But unlike Slayer, Grip Inc. did not follow the most popular trends with their eyes shut. Apart from the aforementioned atmospheric elements, they combined their basic framework with an extra portion of power. "Rusty Nail" was a slap in the face and its edgy guitar work left the listener no other opportunity than to fall under the spell of the music. Nevertheless, this was not a genuine thrash metal piece, because it lacked of velocity and offered a more or less melancholic mood. Its absence of velocity did not mark an isolated case. Mid-tempo parts and speed sections roughly balanced each other out.

The album benefitted from a flawless production. This was no surprise in view of the involvement of Waldemar Sorychta who also appeared as the main composer of the formation. Despite the fact that the band had integrated some non-thrashing influences, the sound of "Nemesis" could not be confused with that of power or traditional metal albums. Its transparent heaviness, the piercing guitars and the clean overall impression left no doubt that these guys had been musically socialised by thrash metal. Contrariwise, the punk roots of Gus Chambers (R.I.P.) did not play a significant role. However, more important was that his vocal performance was on a par with the instrumental brilliance of his band mates.

Admittedly, the furious debut remained unrivaled. A few songs of "Nemesis" achieved a good level, but they did not have the explosive force that had distinguished the tracks of "Power of Inner Strength". Anyway, the drumming of Lombardo, the riffs of Sorychta and the vocals of Chambers were still a dangerous cocktail and "Nemesis" appeared as a kind of guarantee that thrash metal will never die - minor adjustments not excluded.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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