Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Germ: Grief (2013)


I’ve been following Germ for a while now, and the only thing I can say with certainty is that you need to check them out. They may not be the best band out there, but they are certainly one of the most interesting.

The band’s style has been essentially consistent, but completely unparalleled. You might call it blackpop (I’ll take credit for that term, thank you very much). Its primary DNA strains come from black metal and pop music, creating what’s either some of the most challenging pop music or some of the most accessible black metal ever recorded.

It’s not like synthpop is a completely alien entity to metal, but it would seem to be the antithesis of black metal. Or maybe not, given the way Germ expertly combines a synthpop melody with black metal riffing. A little piano and a little of The Cure punctuate the only vaguely pop-oriented but excellent “Butterfly.” That’s followed by the equally great “The Stain of Past Regrets,” which is mostly synthpop with a very catchy chorus. An ambient interlude separates it from “Memorial Address,” featuring a catchy melody and a solo you might hear in a mainstream rock song from decades past. Pop singing, synths, piano, tremolo-picked riffs, and bloodcurdling screams, together at last.

Sadly it seems Germ is best at EP-length releases. Grief starts out very strong but loses steam somewhere near the middle of its 71 minute run. It picks up again by the end, but it never does manage to equal the high standards set by the first 13 minutes.

Still, where else can you hear blackpop?

The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars


  1. I think Loss of Self is doing something similar, although without the synths. Sadly, I failed to coin the term "blackpop" when I wrote about their album.

  2. I do like "bubblegum black metal," though.

    Lately, Flenser hasn't given me download access to everything, only stream access, so I haven't been paying much attention. Though I do feel a keen loss in terms of the Botanist split.