GRAF ORLOCK – Crime Traveler (Vitriol Records)
My introduction to Graf Orlock came back in 2007/2008. I was attending my first Dudefest (RIP) in Indianapolis, IN and I kept hearing folks rave about the band. I heard some folks use the term “cinema-grind” to explain Gorlock (as they’re commonly called) which was described to me as a grindcore band that adds snippets of movies (The Terminator, Aliens, RoboCop to name a few) as samples. Not only that, but each release has a theme around a particular movie! Finally a grindcore band that can have fun and not drone on about their political views! Their releases are interesting not only musically, but physically. Past releases have come housed in a boom box, a backpack, and a gory pop-up with the CD being encased by an Alien-like chest cavity (which I proudly own). In this day and age of streaming/downloading music, it’s nice to hear a band take pride in the physical elements of music in addition to the tunes themselves. The next step in the Graf Orlock adventure is Crime Traveler out on February 5th via Vitriol Records.
Jason Schmidt heads Graf Orlock, Ghostlimb (also releasing a new album this year), Vitriol Records, and somehow maintains a day job like the rest of us. Residing in Los Angeles where blockbusters are released each year, the movie sampling makes sense. The album is described by the band as a “…story of a French-Canadian assassin who discovers a wormhole and travels back in time to kill American politicians so that Canada can attain superpower status in the future. As the samples selected for the album illustrate, our anti-hero zips through time and space on his mission – rubbing elbows with John Hinckley at the Reagan assassination, witnessing the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and more. Until its theatrical release we can only imagine the cinematic greatness.” One can only hope they’re filming an actual movie and this album will serve as the soundtrack.
So what about the music? The album clocks in at under 30 minutes and each song hovers around the two to three minute mark (with the exception of closer “Cheaper, Better, and Safer Than the Real Thing” which clocks in at over five minutes). Shorts bursts of grind coupled with clever and oftentimes hilarious samples make for an entertaining ride which demands repeated listens. The song (and album highlight) “A Decent Proposal in a Shitty Alley” is the perfect mix of clever sample with half-time palm-muting grind and blast beats. The sample “I remember when kids like you had some fucking respect!” sounds exactly like Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed (he has a unique way of pronouncing ‘respect’). Listen below:
But I digress. The album, from start to finish, is one great grind song after another. The guitar tone and mix is loud and in your face (kudos to Kris Hilbert from Legitimate Business Studio in Greensboro, NC who recorded, mixed and mastered the album). I’ve never witnessed Gorlock live but I’m guessing it sounds exactly as menacing as this album.
And continuing the the trend of a creative physical product, Crime Traveler will come housed in an actual newspaper written and designed by the band! You can’t download that kids.
Overall, I’m happy to see Graf Orlock still banging away and paying attention to physical releases. I myself hate downloading music (even if it’s legal) and respect those who still recognize there’s a place for art and music to come together. These types of releases can’t be cheap to produce so throw some of your hard-earned money their way. Well done fellas!