Gracepoint - Science Of Discontent

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Candle Wax Records
Catalog Number:
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:33:00

Metallica and Pearl Jam seem to be the root influences that Gracepoint have here on Science Of Discontent, though the first is musically, the latter vocally. There's nothing mentioned on their site to actually suggest this is the case, but if you can imagine Eddie Vedder fronting Metallica, then you will have a pretty good idea of what Gracepoint sound like. They bill themselves as metal-fusion, which is apparent in the instrumental interplay of at least some of the tracks. If you've never heard or heard of Eddie Vedder (the vocalist of Pearl Jam), the vocalist here, Matt Tennessen has a voice that is untypical for the hard-edged metal they play. But, it fits perfectly. Tennessen is not one of those who reaches for the rafters with soaring vocals (a la James LaBrie, Fabio Leone, etc.). Instead, it is an intense, tough voice, tightly controlled, as if at any moment he's going to explode. James Hetfield sings this way, as well. Well, at least up through their 1991 self-released title. It's the voice of rage and anger tightly clamped down.

Like Metallica, the rhythms are drum and percussion heavy (Lance Reed), resulting in a staccato sound ... well, many a metal band sounds this way -- heavy, deep chugga-chuggas from a twin guitar attack (Stefan Radzilowski, Lon Kunze) and bass (Sam Van Moer). The band is quite tight, maybe too tight, as everything seems to be kept under tight control. There are moments when guitar leads are let loose, but even then there is a feeling that some calculation is involved.

Many of the tracks seem to be played at the same pace and rate - quick and pulse pounding - making them seem interchangeable. It is only during the interludes and solo spots that some of their dynamics come through. These guys have some impressive chops, especially where the guitars are concerned. Some of the leads are classically influenced, the others jazz influenced -- their interplay is best on display during the instrumental title track, and "Shapeshifter," which follows. Here they play around with more than just hard-driving chugga-chugga, putting the fusion in their metal fusion. Instrumentally they are stronger than vocally, as Tennessen's delivery rarely changes from track to track. "Your World," changes everything, being extremely moody and brooding, and perhaps most like Pearl Jam in that respect (circa Ten), as "Black" comes to mind (in a vague sort of way). I'm thinking that Tennessen sounds like Vedder is just coincidence, since more often than not, his delivery is very much in the vein of Hetfield.

Overall, I quite like this debut and think that Gracepoint have a chance in the (seemingly) flooded market of metal. Despite the likenesses mentioned above, there does seem to be something different about Gracepoint. Sure there's a gloominess to their musical vision, which I think dovetails with the popularity of Nevermore and other darker metal bands. I'm not sure the chirpy, happy metal bands are in vogue now anyway.

Overwhelm / Attrition / Gallery / Inside Track / Science of Discontent / Shapechanger / Behind The Glass / Following / Your World

Sam Van Moer - bass
Lance Reed - drums
Stefan Radzilowski - guitars
Lon Kunze - guitars
Matt Tennessen - vocals

Science Of Discontent (2000)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: October 13th 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1792
Language: english


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