Joel Grind
The Yellowgoat Sessions

Joel Grind’s Yellowgoat Sessions project pays homage to metal’s formative years and 80’s heyday in all its raw and bare bones glory. The Toxic Holocaust main-man cooks up a feisty mix of fast and straight-forward metal tunes inspired by the punk rock fury of Motorhead and the early works of Venom and Bathory. The formula keeps things simple as it interlocks retro black metal, punk and thrash into a dirty rock ‘n’ roll base. And while the ensuing combo isn’t going to set the metal world on fire, or infiltrate too many year-end lists, Grind succeeds in his proven ability to pen raw and catchy metal tunes with a retro mentality. Essentially, this album is about Grind having a headbanging good time and paying tribute to the metal influences that course through his veins. He takes the DIY approach that defined his early recorded works with Toxic Holocaust and both his no-frills performances and song-writing bristles with passion and crackling energy.

The production compliments the raw vitality of the songs as it bypasses digital flair whilst providing a balanced mix, overall clarity and biting tones. The short and concise 25-minute running time passes quickly in a whir of speed-laced mayhem embedded with ample hooks, catchy riffs and ripping solos. Grind’s raspy vocals are on the money as well, providing a fitting partnership with the fiery old-school spirit of his song-writing. There’s nothing particularly flashy or inventive going on here, while the similar sounding riffs, rhythms and one-dimensional components will likely turn off some listeners. But Grind packs so much energy and hooks into the songs that it’s difficult not to get sucked in and taken along for the ride.

The brilliantly titled, “Hell’s Master of Hell”, rips with a relentlessly galloping pace, catchy riffs and a wicked solo. “Foul Spirit Within” takes it back a notch as it lurches with a mid-tempo gait, sinister riffing and another solid guitar solo. “Black Order” is another scorching tune armed with catchy hooks and a ‘classic’, old-school feel. And the high energy thrash-punk of “Cross Damnation” finds Grind locking into top gear with ferocious urgency. There are no real duds to speak of just a handful of songs that stand above the pack and raise the quality of the album a couple of notches.

Of course song-writing with this sort of one-track mind lends predictability and a ‘samey’ feel to the material, which in turn holds the album back a bit as far as variety and substance are concerned. However when the songs are this catchy and fun to listen to it’s a minor gripe that dents replay value but otherwise fails to falter the retro charms and rawness that bleeds through Grind’s song-writing and infectious playing. Hardly essential, the Yellowgoat Sessions is nonetheless a highly enjoyable feast of old school metal with its heart in the right place.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
May 22nd, 2013

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