Cross the Lips of Grace have finally released their debut album, and a startling mix it is. A customised blend of metal, hardcore, gothic opera and spook-show sounds, The Epilogue of Suffering will be sure to have people looking up track names and lyrics on the net to find out just what the hell is going on. Cross the Lips of Grace are a 5-piece death-metal/hardcore (sometimes called ‘deathcore') group out of Brisbane. They are signed to the omnipresent label in Australian hardcore, Skull and Bones Records.

  

The Epilogue of Suffering is their debut offering since they formed up in 2005, so they've had a good 4 years to work on it and consider what to put in. The planning shows in the final result. Most of the tracks are your standard hardcore/metal mix, and these are quite good. While the lyrics aren't actually at all discernable, the vocals have a great sound to them, a real breathy roar that's been turned way up to add plenty of body to the mix. The feature point of these songs, though, is the lovely guitar. While the riffing sounds good, it is the almost video-game like sounds of the shredding that makes each song great. These sections spiral up and down, twirling round each other in long or short solos, or just turn into quick scales in breakdowns. They really stand out above the rest of the mix so you can focus solely on them, which is great. However, when you stand back and listen to the whole mix, the realisation of some of the technical skills required smacks you in the face. Not songs to try to cover if you're just picking up an instrument, whichever instrument it may be.

  

However, as I've already mentioned, the most interesting thing about this album to me is the bizarre mix of musics and sounds therein. The first and last tracks sound the same, aurally ushering the album in and out with a repeated synthesized organ sound going on over talking. The second track is just sections of noise going on over the sounds of people screaming. Another track is just a person whispering over more organ sounds, and yet another track features a quote from the movie 300. While I normally curse at these sorts of tracks, for wasting album time, etc, with ‘Grace they work very well to give a break from the highly-dense music, and renew interest in the album. I wondered if there was some sort of story going on in the many whispers-over-music tracks, but I've never been particularly able at picking words out of vocals, so I don't know.

  

One for interested parties to do when they buy the album perhaps. And I encourage fans of metal/hardcore/gothic to do so. An interesting album at the least.

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