3 out of 5
Produced by: Jake Morse, Nick Diener (recorded by)
Greet Death’s ‘New Hell’ kicks off with an amazing opener in ‘Circle of Hell.’ Logan Gaval’s Mark Kozalek-ish plaintive vocals are the perfect juxtaposition to the way wishy-washy guitars give way to a Codeine blast of heavy duty guitars, that latter point maybe being the only first giveaway that ‘New Hell’ appears on hardcore label Deathwish. Which isn’t to stereotype the label, but sure, it is: most of what you hear there involves a lot more screaming and shredding, and as Greet Death get into their second track, ‘Do You Feel Nothing?’ the 90s reverb and Sam Boyhtari’s nasal, emo-y vocals set the band even further apart from that shtick.
But maybe those song titles are a hint. Followup cheery names like ‘Let It Die’ and ‘You’re Gonna Hate What You’ve Done’ are indicative of the self-hating spew the group kicks up, which is more at home with some of Deathwish’s peers’ writing styles. Unfortunately, where labelmates why spin those concepts up with excess energy or evolve the concepts with more thoughtful lyricism, GD are as stuck as their songs’ narrators in depressed, repeated mantras on killing oneself, on getting high and killing oneself, on hating others and hating yourself, and other cheery topics. It’s very surface level. While the music ultimately balances this out, especially when the group allows itself to spiral out into waves and waves of slow and contemplative shoe-gazey riffs, this too, starts to get rather predictable, as the group really only functions in the two styles of those first two tracks.
The whole cycle ends (or repeats) with the closing title track, which interestingly broadens its talking points by weaving it into more of a story than a list of self-damning invectives. ‘New Hell’ is another one of the explosive, slow-burning tracks, but there’s a bit more drive to it, unleashing some extra reverb and letting the song expand on its own time to about ten minutes. This bookends the album especially well, which makes it an easy relisten.