(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
Jyväskylä, Finland is the home of the heavy rock / melodic power metal band Rough Grind who refer to their music as “Dark Roasted Rock”. It might just be a fitting tag too, especially once you’ve savored the flavors of their new EP for Inverse Records, “Four For The Road” (released Aug. 30).
The songs from the band’s new, third EP provide a nice blend of hard rock and metal that channels both oldschool influences and new school attitude. The quartet providing that fine mix is Sami (vocals, guitar), Ville (guitar), Ari (bass) and Killi (drums). These guys keep things on point, always moving within the elements of each track to provide a superb, tasty composition.
They burst off the line with the chunky chugs of “Coffin To Go“, a piston-powered song that ripples with an energized delivery. Tightly wound it pumps and pivots along with smoldering guitars and a choice, swagger-laden vocal styling.
The lads lay it back little for the following number, “Dead End Street” (lyric video below). Keeping things a bit more dialed in, there is a melodic, catchy feel to the track. The guitar parts are especially fantastic, the leads and solos throwback to great dual guitar-driven acts like Thin Lizzy or Iron Maiden.
The high-intensity output returns with the anthemic rocker “Face The Music“, a high-riding song with groove. The guitars once again provide some solid fills but the drumming really stood out for me. It’s nothing ultra-fancy or anything, just solid, in the pocket – and it keeps things moving. That is especially so during the solos and bridges while the song itself really runs the gamut of tempos.
Things wind down with the last song “The Man You Used To Know“, a song with a definite blues feel at first. The thundering bass lines and minimal accompaniments add to the overall feel here. It is reflective, insightfully introspective and it gradually begins to build steam. The layered vocals and their underlying lyrical message are poignant and emotional. It is a fine wrap-up of an equally fine EP.
If there’s a comparison to be made, think Motorhead-meets-Primal Fear musically with a more emotive, Udo Dirkschneider-type vocalist. For the record, I’m not saying Sami is a Udo clone or imitator, I am saying their vocal stylings are similar in some areas and that’s it. Just check out the track below and remember, Rough Grind‘s “Four For The Road” is out now from Inverse Records.