Power of Inner Strength (Metal Blade)
by Scott Hefflon
Hands down and with all journalistic one-liners and witticisms aside and a little over to the left, Grip Inc. has the most brutal release of 1995. It will probably hold that crown for quite some time. But would you expect anything less from Dave Lombardo, the double bass god formerly of Slayer? Lombardo’s signature tom rolls and sheer aggression on the skins inspired a generation of drummers while putting to shame a slew of his contemporaries. Slayer’s Reign in Blood, with Lombardo’s bashings at their finest, fucked more people up for life than Nirvana, Pearl Jam, or even N.I.N. With Power of Inner Strength, that same insane aggression pours relentlessly out of the speakers. This album should be played as loudly as eardrums tolerate and, seriously, God help anyone who asks you to turn it down.
Power of Inner Strength begins with an intro of tribal beats and sledgehammer slams – imagine “Cry Little Sister” from the Lost Boys soundtrack on a mean day. When “Savage Seas” kicks in, you sense immediately this is a band to be reckoned with. Not merely a Slayer rip-off, the sound is tough, but utilizes styles other than that undeniable Slayer style. There’s less death and more street relevance. The lungs of Gus Chambers provide a new roar, one brought from his experience in numerous punk bands in England throughout the ’80s. While the main riff of “Hostage to Heaven” is very Slayer-oriented, it’s the perfect excuse for Lombardo to unleash the speedcore beast that lies within him. Despite the obvious similarities, Chamber’s vocals compensate, as does the guitar work of Waldemar Sorychta. After three records on Century Media with German-based speed metallers, Despair, Sorychta brings his song-crafting abilities to Grip Inc. He transitions from the dreamy swirls of the intros to the mean shredding rhythms like whiplash. A keen sense of melody and an appreciation of raw power makes Sorychta quite an asset to the band. He adds production of this monstrosity to his list which already includes Tiamat, Unleashed, and Samael. Obviously, he knows how to twist knobs for optimum devastation. Bassist Jason Viebrooks, formerly of Heathen, rounds out this cast of heavy hitters. With a crew like this, you’d expect great things, and Grip Inc. delivers.