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Album Review: Greye “VII”

Greye’s ten-plus year ride as one of Florida’s pre-eminent rock exports continues with their new opus VII. The eleven cuts included on the collection show a seasoned unit that’s lost nothing off its fastball over the last decade and, if anything, seems to be redoubling its efforts rather than slacking off. 

The obvious star of the show is vocalist Hannah Summer. She embodies impassioned rock vocals to her core while demonstrating an impressive capacity for nuance and considered phrasing. Greye’s material isn’t just slam-banging rock music that’s all bluster and no brains. Leave that to the AC/DC’s of the world, God bless them. Greye’s hunting bigger game, and Summer leads the way for this across-the-board talented outfit. 

I knew I was set to hear a great album from the first. “Hold My Own” is a blazing statement of purpose in the face of life’s challenges. I’m taken by the sharp lyrical skills on display throughout this tune, and it’s well worth listeners’ time to pay attention to the writing throughout VII. It never tries overshadowing the musical attack. “Famous Last Words” is another example of the band’s excellent lyrics in action. Summer digs deep during this one and unleashes a vocal that sounds dredged up from personal experience rather than merely performed. It’s one of the qualities that separates Greye from their peers and contemporaries. Rather than going through the motions, Greye attacks each song like it’s their last chance to get a point across. 

“Losing My Mind” conjures their Southern rock influences through a simple but effective slide guitar part that burns through the mix. It gives Summer a stage for another of her most shattering vocals. She makes it clear in the accompanying press materials for this release that VII’s songs are autobiographical. However, Greye deserves credit for tapping into an universal vein of human experience. I hear “Losing My Mind” as one of the album’s prime examples. 

“Underdog” is another. Also, it’s distinguished by one of the release’s catchiest riffs. Greye is adept at including melodic riffs that never overly commercialize the band’s sound. They present songs accessible to a wide audience, but strictly on their terms. “Underdog” has single potential written all over it and taps into a classic rock vein with its subject matter. Many of us have experienced such emotions, and Greye understands that well. 

“777” and “Spiders on a Page” are quite a juxtaposition. The former sounds like one of the song’s mammoth tracks to my ears, a diverse and physically engaging performance connecting with body and mind. Summer delivers one of her best vocals for the cut. “Spiders on a Page” mixes electric blues and acoustic to an effective end without ever sounding imitative. This personalized take on blues tradition doesn’t wallow in cliché, and it stands out as one of the most original tunes on an album packed with such moments. 

“Hurricane” features a duet between Summer and the classic country voice of Jason Michael Carroll. It may seem like an incongruous collaboration at first, but dive in, and you’ll find Greye is right at home in this environment. The finale “Everything” concludes VII in a forceful yet overwhelmingly acoustic vein with a showstopper vocal from Summer putting an exclamation point on the release. Greye can rest for a moment, just a moment, realizing that with VII they have produced arguably their finest album yet and one that boldly looks forward. 

Brent Musgrave

About Michael Stover

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