Review: Grade

““The Embarrassing Beginning””
(Victory Records)

Grade is a band that is experimenting with hardcore, punk, and just about everything else rock-ish.  Their newest release, “The Embarrassing Beginning”, is a compilation of work including unreleased demos and songs off of split albums.  What this means, is that a spectrum of sounds are offered up, and a lot of it just blew me away.  Songs like, “Cripple” and “Impulse” thunder out mid-paced crushing hardcore, high quality East-Coast style that is and infecting listen.  The majority of the album tends to be unquestionably good at the staple formula of pound and grind, but there are several songs that diverge form this with mixed success. An instrumental song, a couple of acoustic versions, and some that were almost pop, found latter in the album, present the farthest point away from the relative safety of distorted electric sounds, and push the envelope for the genre.  It took more then a few listens to really get my ears around what they were trying to do, but in the end I appreciated their efforts.  Notable is the live(?) cover of Van Halen’’s Panama, which must have been done for pure comic  value.  Also, I swore that the opening bars of Classified was a song off of Sepltura  “Beneath The Remains”, it made for an interesting sound.  Not the most ordinary, and definitely enjoyable.