Saturday, 12 September 2009
There is a line out there, some say, which separates the sane and rational from the absolutely fucking absurd. Graf Orlock show up and do their best to smear that line beyond all recognition. By the time you reach the final track of any one of their releases you're likely to be headbanging to your own screams of 'Sarah Connor!'
They formed six years ago in Los Angeles as four kids united by their raging love for 80's & 90's cinematography (a detail you'll soon pick up on), and have been splicing audio snippets into their grind inflected hardcore ever since. Former vocalist Kalvin Kristoff was highly influential in Graf Orlock attaining their sound, with a scream so potent it could rattle glass to breaking point. Backed up by Jason Schmidt on guitar who's own voice resonates deep, almost Dave Verellen-esque growls, as if they were coming from Beelzebub's Abyss itself. Mainstays of the listening society have been quick to paste a 'cinema-grind' tag upon anything these Californian savages do - which I confess I'm not a fan of. I just think it trivialises the music, which could leave the band being just aswell known for their inclusion of script and quotes as for their sheer power to rage. I guess you guys will make your own minds up.
After a series of well received splits & EP's they embarked on a three-release trilogy based on a screenplay Jason and drummer 'Alan Hunter' had been fervently working on during their time at college. The 'Destination Time' trilogy is absolutely menacing, track after track of riff-spun fury bolstered extensively by their often ludicrous love of action film samples. Step forward into the melee as revved up Lemmy style bass parts crush insatiably into the churning guitar on tracks like 'A Shocking Interrogation' and 'Todd & Janelle' from the Destination Time: Tomorrow EP. The tempo changes snatch you by the collar and pull you into the tangled fray of Indiana Jones and Under Siege, pumping your senses with large doses of profanity and bloodlust.
While some people will pass off Graf Orlock as a gimmick band, others will jump on board as devout followers of the Predator meets Hardcore template. On a purely sonic level Graf have measurable talent for creating great chunks of hardcore, albeit few of those chunks see the other side of three minutes. I can imagine this band putting in an astonishing level of commitment and exercising their chops in intense hard to fault live shows, brimming with blastbeats and choice movie script dialogue. I just hope Graf Orlock's select list of cinema influences affords them enough room, to produce enough records, to satiate this writer's and the rest of the Graf Orholic's thirst for fresh takes on often stale sub-genres.
Destination Time: Yesterday
Destination Time: Tomorrow
Destination Time: Today