Review by Sonny for Grip Inc. - Nemesis (1997)
Not only have I never heard Grip Inc before, despite the presence of legendary ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, I had never even heard of them prior to this month's feature (probably due to the fact that I was listening to very little metal in the band's heyday in the early to mid-nineties). I am no great aficionado of groove metal, so this omission will surprise absolutely no one. Anyway, moving on from the gaping holes in my metal knowledge, this wasn't at all what I was expecting. With a name like Grip Inc I was expecting an album of second-rate crossover thrash, but this is definitely not that.
There is a surprising amount of variety to the tracks on display here and the pacing is expertly done, allowing the album as a whole to really flow. Sure, there are some Slayer-esque tracks - War Between One and Silent Stranger definitely move in the same circles as South of Heaven, Seasons in the Abyss-era Slayer. But there are also tracks that create a great atmosphere too, varying anywhere from industrial dystopian to middle eastern desert sands. If I was pushed I'd say they sound like a cross between Kreator, Fear Factory and Countdown to Extinction-era Megadeth.
Vocals are handled by the late Gus Chambers and are suitably hard-edged from the Mille Petrozza school of metal singers. The riffs are great and nicely hook-laden and although the songs tend towards short runtimes, they pack so much in that they seem more substantial. It's impossible to ignore the fact that Grip Inc have such a legend of a drummer in their ranks and he really shows his chops here, being more free to exhibit his talents than he was whilst occupying the drumstool in Slayer - the ritualistic rhythms of Descending Darkness being just one particular example. The band as a whole are an exceedingly tight unit and I've got to admit, they really have won me over with their sheer proficiency and songwriting skill - Dave Lombardo's supporting cast these guys are not and this album is a testament to the superb combined qualities of the whole band.
If I had any substantial complaint, it would be that at times I feel they would benefit from a second guitarist to fill out the sound and add more power to their already impressive arsenal. That minor quibble aside, this is a real underrated gem and I loved it so much I intend to get hold of a physical copy which will definitely get repeated spins.. and man, that Code of Silence is a killer of an album closer.