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Conelrad - A Final Dissolution

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Artist: Conelrad

Album: A Final Dissolution

Label: New Addition

Review date: Feb. 1, 2005

Mixing the grinding fluidity of early metal stalwarts, such as Carcass and Bolt Thrower, with the determined dexterity of current acts like Lightning Bolt and Hella, Pittsburgh duo Conelrad improve upon the seemingly insurmountable technical – and often passionate – prowess of the aforementioned groups to such an extent that questions of influence are entirely superfluous.

On A Final Dissolution, Conelrad’s Jeff Gretz (drums/vocals) and Adam MacGregor (guitar/vocals) cram pound after pound of structure, intensity, and volume into an unwilling receptacle. Eventually, the receptacle splits, and what comes bursting forth is a tightly woven network of monstrous sonic explosions – 12 of them to be precise – in less than 30 minutes. Gretz’s drumming stays right with MacGregor’s spastic guitar, nibbling here and there, and sometimes chewing right through, rumbling over minute harmonics in a miasmatic wave not unlike drummer Hellhammer’s most brutal stick-work with death-metal icon, Mayhem. This is not to say that Gretz’s drumming isn’t sensitive: fills and accents percolate around MacGregor’s crunching shards, bringing the Minutemen’s Hurley/Boon interplay to mind hours before one is inclined to say “Orthrelm.”

Gretz doesn't outshine MacGregor, either; MacGregor demonstrates that not all Robert Fripp fans have allowed the washcloth of technique to scrub them clean. MacGregor mud-dives into sludgy pits of distorted and hammered chords, only to slip nimbly into soaring, crystalline arpeggios that tie themselves into knots and fray at the ends with propulsive, and repetitive lines.

Gretz and MacGregor’s instrumental prowess is matched with their twin vocal attack. Enlisting a mix of Rodan's spoken/screamed brand of vocalizing with the frothing rage of the Luttenbachers’ Weasel Walter, Gretz and MacGregor staple their shrieks onto each song’s body.

By Stewart Voegtlin

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