Greber Find Details Amid the Noise on Punishing 'Fright Without'

Greber Find Details Amid the Noise on Punishing 'Fright Without'
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While it features much of what listeners have come to expect from Greber, Fright Without — the band's first record in four years — is full of subtle tweaks to their established formula, built from moments that require multiple visits to be fully appreciated.
 
Although the band has said they didn't spend much time overthinking the songs on this record, the riffs that power Fright Without are frequent and come in a variety of forms. Whether it's the sludgy plod on songs like "Larkinitis" and "Rats of Subversion" or the full grindcore assault on "Fabricated Purpose" or "Into Silence", there's a surprising amount of variety on the record, an attention to textural detail that belies the band's instinctual approach. While the riff may not be the most important structural element to every Greber song, it's nevertheless the thing that first grabs the listener's attention
 
Greber's greatest strength has always been their use of rhythm and groove; their songs never quite go the way the listener might expect, which can largely be attributed to drummer Steve Vargas. Subtly manipulating songs with his unique approach to drumming, Vargas deploys an arsenal of tricks — the frenetic snare fills that push "Form" to teeter at the edge or the variation of patterns he utilizes on the same riff in "Dark Corners" — that keep Greber's music in a constant state of push and pull. There is always a sense of unease and uncertainty, a question of where the music might take you next. Vargas' contributions are perhaps the most important to Greber's music, and often explains how they manage to create so much while instrumentally using so little.
 
The dilemma that every Greber record faces is how to incorporate melody into music that has such an aversion to it. Whether it's the melodic vocal harmonies at the beginning of "Larkinitis" or use of natural harmonics on "Rats of Subversion", Fright Without finds Greber incorporating small pockets of melody into their blistering attack. Perhaps the highlight of this quest for melody are the guest vocals provided by Kevin Keegan on "Fabricated Purpose," his voice offering some theatrical contrast to the band's punishing riffs. 
 
Greber don't reinvent the wheel on Fright Without, but they continue to refine their craft and make music that rewards investment and repeated listens. Sure, subtlety and nuance be damned, but Greber still manage to find the details in their constantly-evolving onslaught.   (Ancient Temple Recordings)