Turbulent Times

Southern Lord

The sad, final death rattle of Grief is, as one familiar with their output might expect, less an affirmation of a career (?) spent trudging ever upward against the tides of popular taste and opinion like a sonic Sisyphus, than an admission of near-total defeat by an uncaring and indifferent world. Turbulent Times is the beautiful gesture of surrender; it’s Grief going out not with a bang, but with an exhausted whimper. Turbulent Times is a final statement from a band who spent more than a decade telling us that Samuel Beckett’s quote “I can’t go on. I’ll go on,” was only half right. The record is essentially a choice grab-bag of demos and rare vinyl-only single tracks, in effect making Grief’s disappearance all the more final by not even bothering to show up to their own going-away party.

Even the song titles reflect Grief’s enervating blanket of melancholy and self-destruction: “Depression,” “Bored,” “Fucked Upstairs,” “My Dilemma” and so on. Yet, their pain was not the playing-at-unrequited-love of legions of indie bands, but an altogether deeper paralysis and self-loathing that in turn led to uncompromising bursts of doom that often seemed to hardly stir from their drug-induced hazes. The buzzsaw entropy was almost too much to bear at times, but in the end ultimately rewarding. A decade worth of barely moving is all here for us, one last time. Fuck yes. Okay, so it’s no mystery what you’re going to hear with Turbulent Times if you have even the most passing familiarity with Grief: long hypnotic mantras of trudge-und-drang, hoarse vocal grunts and groans, lyrics filled with total revulsion for humanity and all its indignities. The soundtrack to Sartre’s No Exit, maybe. Songs sluggisly stirring to life, scarred beyond recognition. Heavily distorted guitars feedbacking carelessly to the nth degree in those eternal pauses between each painful note played, tarpit bass, and tombstone drums that refuse to conform to any traditional measurements of time or rhythm. It still sounds so fucking earth-shattering, even after all this time. Khanate and Melvins are alone in reaching the level of abuse that Grief reveled in. Highlights include “Fucked Upstairs” from a Dystopia split, the unforgiving 10+ minute “suicide version” of “Depression,” the raw wound that is “Pessimiser,” “No Choice” — which almost carries a recognizable beat (basically speed metal for Grief) and an atonal guitar solo — and the final synapse overload of “Bored.”

Aw fuck, the whole thing’s basically a revelation; maybe Grief ended up winning after all.

Southern Lord:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

  • Demons/Demons 2
    Demons/Demons 2

    Synapse Films reissues Lamberto Bava’s epic ’80s gore-filled movies Demons and Demons 2 in beautiful new editions.

  • Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson
    Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson

    Searching for the Disappearing Hour (Pyroclastic Records). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Payal Kapadia
    Payal Kapadia

    Earlier this year, director Payal Kapadia was awarded the Oeil d’or (Golden Eye) for best documentary at the 74th Cannes Film Festival for her debut feature, A Night of Knowing Nothing. Lily and Generoso interviewed Kapadia about her poignant film, which employs a hybrid-fiction technique to provide a personal view of the student protests that engulfed Indian colleges and universities during the previous decade.

  • Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella
    Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella

    A classic children’s tale re-imagined by America’s greatest composers.

From the Archives