Rictus Grin
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Rictus Grin

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"Rictus Grin – Living The Dream Album Review"

How this Wisconsin death trio has avoided my ear until now I'll never know, but "Living the Dream", Rictus Grin's fifth album has found a comfortable spot near the top of my playlist. Having toured relentlessly over the years with names like Motorhead, King Diamond, Judas Priest, Ministry and a whole crapload of big names in the metal field, makes me wonder where the hell have I been or where the hell have they been that our paths haven't crossed, but oh what the hell , who cares, I know them now. C'mon somebody major sign these guys already!
"Living the Dream" is some kick ass mid western death/thrash and for an Independent album sounds unbelievably good. Maybe they don't need a major, just a good distributor. The songs are short and the whole disc only covers twenty eight minutes, but it's U.S. death at it's best. "Lifeless" is a bit of speedy thrash with growling vocals to open up and "Stalker" combines a pounding melody with some good drum kicking. Both are under three minutes, but "Death Dance" and "The Dark Hereafter" thrash us a little longer with steady, heavy, speedy melody and some good leads and basswork. This is some solid American Thrash with good death vocals. "Keystone Buick" is the only song to top four minutes and starts with the sound of a beer opening, thrashes and chops heavily, kicks up some speed and finishes with a beer chugging, disgusting belch. Friggin' awesome!! "Rictus" changes vocals to more screaming than growling, and alternates chopping rhythms and speedy melodies. "Morgue", "Poe", and "Alucard" finish this out in much the same fashion. Chopping, then kicking, growling and stomping. Showing speed and staying tight.
To be simply honest, Rictus Grin, is some of the best American Death I never heard. Now, that you're back from Iceland, maybe you guys can bring it to New York or Jersey. Cause, I'd like to hear a whole lot more!
- By: Tgod of Harm Magazine -- http://666metal.com/main/


"Rockspew - January 2005"

Rictus Grin – “Living the Dream” EP The band was formed in the Milwaukee area back in 1998 by guitarist/vocalist Larry Weeks, who could quite possibly be Devin Townsend's long lost twin. The power trio, rounded out by bassist Dave Moran and drummer Jeff Lamers, has shared the stage with many national metal heavyweights like Morbid Angel, Iced Earth, Exodus, King Diamond, Anthrax, Meshuggah, Strapping Young Lad, Mudvayne, Children of Bodom, Ministry, and Damageplan at Summerfest 2004 just to name a few. They are even performing in Iceland in the summer of 2005! The EP, “Living the Dream,” is a four song thrash bar coated with a light layer of doom. Although it has blast beats and some fast guitar interludes, they manage to pace themselves to allow listeners to catch their breath. Weeks' deep throated growl can actually be understood and reminds me of Max Cavalera era Sepultura. Be sure to check out Rictus Grin at the Doomsday 2005 show at the Rave on Saturday, January 29th. www.rictusgrin.com - Jason Mansavage www.maximumink.com


"Brew City Sludge - January 2005"

…One of the best acts to remain constant throughout the year in metal has been Milwaukee's Rictus Grin. Kick ass live performance complete with props and the occasional audience member almost being dis-membered (willingly) has been the key to this band growing a large fan base of frothing headbangers. Their music, while precise and technical, also leaves room for a humorous dark side when it comes to lyrical content. The boys are due back in the studio this spring, and metal-phobes throughout the area are expecting another testical busting release…Until next month my sweeties...screw the New Year's resolutions...go and get your bad- self some fun!
- Lane Klozier www.maximumink.com


"Rictus Grin - Taste the Steel & Living the Dream (reviews by Luke)"

Rictus Grin knows their metal and they know it well. This band is so good it’s hard to know where to begin. They have an unbelievable songwriting ability. Just one listen and their knowledge and faculty will become utterly apparent. These guys are not fucking around! Taste the Steel is everything you could crave from true heavy metal. But it doesn’t stop there. It has surprisingly high intensity, impassioned, and thoroughly melodious thrash; absolutely awesome thrash with just the right amounts of uplifting power yet still holding dominion over the malice of death metal. But it doesn’t stop there. Besides the thrilled riffing, Rictus Grin also manipulates slower, avalanche-inducing, rhythmic punches. Each song is a cavalry of energized musicianship; each melody washing over you and after it passes it drags you along behind it. This all equates to devastating riff after devastating riff. But it doesn’t stop there. The vocals are a real gem in this music. The clean vocals are gripping and prevailing, but he also has a certain ravenous might; similar to the way Tom Araya sounds live. The drumming is perfect for their style of metal. It is blunt and undeviating and he doesn’t get too flashy. The quality of this album is fantastic with each instrument having its own voice and each voice is heeded and understood. But it doesn’t stop there…
Rictus Grin has released a demo for Living the Dream that showcases the material for their new album. This music will beat you through the earth and thrust you into the deepest, most agonizing pits of hell. The new songs are heavier than ever and are supported by lyrics and storylines that draw you in and never release you. The guitars and bass are faster, more aggressive and unconditionally unrelenting. The vocals have some new talents to show too. He gets lower with his roars and better matches the themes and somewhat twisted musicality. These new rhythms will cause your muscles to seize, spasm, and tear. This time around the evil that was hinted at in the last album has nearly taken control. Living the Dream definitely has the Rictus Grin signature on it and I wait in great anticipation for the final version of the CD. Waste no more time and head to www.geocities.com/rictusgrinforever to check out this massively heavy and capable band.
- Luke Offield—www.heavycore.org


"RICTUS GRIN Living the Dream (Self Financed)"

If you read the biography of Rictus Grin you will see that they have already shared the stage with bands like: METAL CHURCH, MINISTRY, KING DIAMOND, ANTHRAX, ICED EARTH, EXODUS and so on. They surely have a lot of experience and they have played hundreds of live shows. Actually in June 2005 they will hit Iceland for a tour. "Living The Dream" is their fifth so far album and it was released last month. Their music can be described as heavy / thrash American metal with harsh vocals. Imagine a bit more aggressive vocals from thrash metal and you will have the picture in your mind. I had the chance to also hear their previous album "Taste The Steel" and I must say that the band has made a progress and on their new album the compositions are well worked and you can feel more power in their music. I believe you can feel the live atmosphere of Rictus Grin. So if this land, USA, wants they have some really quality bands out there. Don't make the mistake and not buy this album or at least just listen to it. Well done guys!
9/10
- Antonis Maglaras—www.geocities.com/behind_the_veil2001/summer_frames.htm


"Rictus Grin “Living the Dream” Review"

This CD is an undeniable example of Milwaukee Metal at it's finest. Rictus Grin takes many different styles of metal, thrash, death, power, and even doom in some places, and fuses them together to form their very own signature sound. Clean crisp death metal vocals that you can sing along to, along with tight crushing guitar riffs and intricate flowing bass lines and drumming. From the comedic lyrics and sound effects in Keystone Buick to the more mellow melodies in Death Dance; this album has something for every metal fan.
If you want an album that's well written, crisp, flowing and well put together, with elements of the many different genres of metal... this is it! Definitely a treat to the ears!
Keep it metal
- Jen--www.mkemetal.com


"CD Release: 2005 Rictus Grin"

Living The Dream, the new full-length release from Rictus Grin, kicks ass! It's kinda hard to label the style of music on this cd. You can hear a combination of Death Metal, Thrash, Old School Metal and, at times, it even sounds a little like blues! Very original! The production quality is very professional, and the artwork by Jeff Gaither is very cool. My favorte picks are Keystone Buick and Poe. I would recommend picking up this title to anyone who enjoys good, original Metal. For more info and to buy this CD, visit the Rictus Grin Website. - Ron Dake--www.rottingcorpserecords.com


"Rictus Grin Review--Living the Dream(indie)"

If you search hard enough for Independent thrash bands from the USA you could be lucky enough to find this 3 piece band called Rictus Grin who hail from Allenton, Wisconsin. Rictus Grin, from reading all about them in their bio has shared the stage with many of the juggernaut heavy metal acts and played enough clubs, pubs and bars showcasing their aggressive thrash onslaught to hunderds of Heavy Metal fans.
Technically, Rictus Grin is one of the best at what they do as they produce a raw and powerful thrash sound led by guitarist/ vocalist Larry Weeks. Not a lot of bands today can brag about sounding like 80's or early 90's thrash acts like Sepultura, Megadeth, Metal Church or even Anvil. Living The Dream is a well produced Indie CD showing an impressive drum attack to go along with riffs that chug along with no letting up for a second.
Some of the most creative tempo changes are heard track by track as well as the grunts belted out by Larry Weeks' deep vocals. The unfortunate part is that Living The Dream is only just over 28 minutes long. But even that doesn't stop this CD from being something well worth listening to, and often. Rictus Grin may have a cult of diehard fans under their wing but it may not be long before they get the exposure they are really looking for. Staying an underground cult icon in heavy metal isn't always best in the long run but Rictus Grin may just be able to break free from that and get the attention they seek. Things look very good for the future of Rictus Grin and in today's music world that says a lot. They do have a lot to offer and with time it will all pay off. Rictus Grin forever! Score: 8.5/10
- Metal Mike-www.metalexpressradio.com


"Rictus Grin--Living The Dream (Independent) Album Review"

Throughout my brief and often adventure-filled career (yes, I still consider it a career) as an entertainment journalist, the music “scene” (or lack thereof) in the state of Wisconsin (i.e. the land of cheese, beer and the quasi-legendary Green Bay Packers) has, for better or for worse, yielded a variety of entertaining albeit utterly forgettable artists and groups. Despite numerous noteworthy (and undoubtedly influential, at least on some level) contributions from acts such as The Buzzhorn, Boz Scaggs and The Violent Femms, (to name only a precious few), the resulting sonic carnage, as infrequent and ineffective as it may have often been, has ultimately had little impact on the public at large. Fortunately for all parties involved, there is a solution to the madness at hand. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, Rictus Grin.
On the stellar Living The Dream (2005), an expertly assembled nine (!) song collection of airtight, melody and aggression-infused Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the disturbingly dark (albeit impressively multi-dimensional) “Stalker”, and the scalding, Eric Klein co-penned “Death Dance”, immediately and permanently commands the rapt and undivided attention of even the most jaded and unimaginative of listeners (myself most definitely included) with a seamless, mostly mid-tempo barrage of gritty vocals, relentless guitars (why aren’t there any solos?) and imaginatively punishing rhythms that are (despite being almost entirely entrenched amid the fist-pumping, mosh-inducing insanity that is the not-so-recent past), without a doubt, worthy of the highest of critical and commercial accolades.
Continuing with the thought-provoking “The Dark Hereafter”, and the surprisingly full-throttle “Rictus”, the steadfast (to say the very least) combination of guitarist/vocalist Larry Weeks, bassist Dave Moran, and drummer Jeff Lamers steamrolls forward at an occassioanlly breakneck pace, effectively solidifying an undoubtedly well-deserved (and hard-fought) reputation as a creative force not to be ignored (both sonically and visually) amid the increasingly stagnant and pointlessly inbred Hard Rock and Heavy Metal genres without resorting to the shameless, payola and chart position-driven tactics so common amid the so-called “mainstream”, a much-welcomed and seemingly rare factor that makes both Rictus Grin and the guilty pleasure that is Living The Dream one of the finest independent releases of the year.
A self-produced, mixed, engineered and financed affair throughout, other standouts, including the oddly emotion-laden (albeit pummeling) “Morgue”, and the mysterious, equally impressive closer “Alucard”, offer compelling further sonic evidence (though at this point, with the inescapable presence of such an immensely impressive pedigree, none is actually needed) in support of the almost (okay, completely) unbelievable wealth of lyrical and musical ingenuity at the smoldering epicenter of each truly breathtaking composition. Thus, even the inclusion of arguably lesser significant material such as the painfully generic opener “Lifeless”, and the curiously-titled, sound effect-riddled (were the unbelievably disgusting slurping sounds really necessary?) rumbler “Keystone Buick”, fail to subtract from the overall festive mood within.
Although one might effectively argue (and I, for the most part, would wholeheartedly agree) that the majority (if not all) of the undeniably low budget wares (this is an independent release, after all) contained herein may or may not be for everyone, one must, at the very least, sincerely admire the groups seemingly unique determination to their craft, a characteristic that instantly sets them apart from their few would-be contemporaries (as few and far between as they may be). If you are looking (and we certainly hope that you are) for a refreshingly imaginative alternative to the mindless din and clatter that is so often force fed en mass (i.e. Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Staind and their like-minded brethren), then this, my friends, might just be the kick ass cure for what ails you. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
- By: Todd Newton – www.blasting-zone.com


"Rictus Grin Review--Living the Dream"

Back with yet another assault of the senses, Milwaukee’s Rictus Grin have unleashed “Living The Dream”, the follow-up to their 2003 full-length, “Taste The Steel” (not counting the “Living The Dream EP” released in 2004). While this album weighs in a bit scrawny at just above 28 minutes long, and the album art is nothing more than an amateurish Dungeons & Dragons-like skeleton forever trapped in a motionless pin-up, Rictus Grin know their metal and aren’t afraid to flaunt it like a cheap New Orleans whore.

Rictus Grin are actually one of those rare thrash acts that incorporate large amounts of death metal among many other influences to create a unique sound which can be recognized even upon hearing a song of theirs for the first time. Larry Weeks’ death metal vocals are distinctively smooth with a crisp edge much like taking a bite from an apple, which is also teamed with his utterly crushing, tight guitar playing skills. The bass is used with intricate perfection and worked well into the mix. Don’t be expecting some lazy bass player to just fart around in the background. This material creatively rivals that of the legendary Overkill, and in some instances, laps it completely. This is all sewn shut with the drumming of Jeff Lamers, which is just a bit undercooked in sound, but overall strong and most importantly, lacking in blast beats…or as those clever Latinese used to say…blasticus homosexuous beateronimus.

So what we have here is some very catchy, memorable, and well-written death metal-influenced thrash with a slight intimation of power metal and doom in places. They don’t exactly light the world on fire with some unconventionally improved metal sound, but instead base their sound on what appears to be no less than a ka-zillion different styles ranging from Iron Maiden to Razor to Suffocation. A fantastic mix of tempo-changing atrocities, tank-riding melodies, and destructive riffs hijacking planes and flying them into buildings. Take “Alucard” for example, their most epic tune on the disc. They put to shame what bands like In Flames try to accomplish, and put forth a great contrast of frenzy and emotionally detached lethargy. Absolutely brilliant, and they make it sound so easy.

Unfortunately, there’s really not much to pick apart. There are the slower, more peaceful breaks as seen in the likes of “Death Dance” which seem a little out of place. The sickening belch by drummer Jeff Lamers at the end of “Keystone Buick” is the wettest, most vile, disturbing thing found in a song since Cattle Decapitation’s sample of the Russian soldier getting his throat slit. Other than that…one can only nitpick at the stupid stuff like the quick fade-out at the end of “Morgue”. In closing, “Living The Dream” really is all that and a bag of chips. Highly recommended to all fans of thrash and death, especially the older bucks like myself who grew up with metal from the 80’s. Guess what? These guys not only understand it, but have no intentions of replicating what used to be. They just do what they do. Now if they would only stop promoting such crappy beer…
Shev's Rating: A

- Shev--www.kickedintheface.com


Discography

Living the Dream 2005
Taste the Steel 2003
The Truth of Darkness 2002
No Regrets 2001
Life Without Frown 1999

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Rictus Grin translated means the grotesquely askew smile on the face of a corpse. In this spirit of arcane morbidity the story begins. Through the chaos of underground warehouse parties to the staggering heights of European tours and mainstage mayhem Rictus Grin remains a true and grim force. Ascending from the tombs of the underground metal scene their steadfast focus lies in not only showcasing their own dark creations, but also unearthing other local talent and unifying the scene one show at a time.

In the early days of cavernous warehouse concerts vocals/guitarist Larry Weeks, coupled with drummer Wade Bergeron and bassist Larry Gammill formed Rictus Grin in a state of vehement creation. The metal trio drew people toward the band with an unexpected and curious magnetism. Realizing the music induced moshing pandemonium and unforgettable emotional upheavals the act moved to perform at venues beyond the darkened recesses.

Even with member changes and an evolving and growing crowd Rictus Grin continues to easily cross the lines between unforgettable underground parties and rabidly intense shows. Now that their reputation has spread, the community expects from Rictus Grin an unconventionally gripping and unique performance and a stage show that evokes pits, body passing, and band-encouraged prop demolition. Remembering their goals to reach beyond themselves, Rictus Grin organizes an annual Doomsday metal festival to showcase the talents of underground bands from all over the US, a festival that has occurred annually in dead of winter for 7 years. Also always immersed in the scene, Rictus Grin vigilantly books WI dates for touring acts from all over the world.

Now with the unmistakeable and uniquely heavy sounds of Allen Neumann on drums, the powerful and decidedly hard hitting music of Dave Moran on bass and the grim lunacy of Larry Weeks on guitars/vocals Rictus Grin is reaching new heights of talented musically inspired pathological seduction and humor. Abiding their course they pursue unification of the scene and an ever pursuant determination to leave behind a timeless earthly immortality.

Upcoming Events:
Opening for Obituary, Napalm Death and Dead to Fall September 2005
Performing at Northern Wisconsin Metalfest September 2005
Submitting to Turkey Vulture Records The Harder the Better Vol 11
Mini US Tours--Summer 2005
Distributing Merchandise Nationally
Writing New Material and Performing 6+ Shows Monthly
Organizing & Performing Milwaukee Doomsday Event Jan. 2006

Major Achievements:
Semi-Finalist sickmetal.com Band Contest 2005-06
Horns High Entertainment Band of the Month 01/06
"Living the Dream" Voted One of Metal Net Radio's Top 10 Indie Albums 2005
Opened for Obituary, Napalm Death, Dead to Fall 2005
Interviewed with JT of 96.9 the Fox
Performed at Honorary Rave Bloody Christmas 2005
Metal Net Radio Top 10 Indie Album of 2005
Performed at MHL Productions Summer Onslaught
Headlined Iowa Thrashfest
Toured Iceland as an International Act June 2005
Local Support for Motorhead and COC
Created/Organized local Doomsday show (annually)
Opened for Metal Church & 3 Inches of Blood
Local Support for Ministry & Thrill Kill Kult
Summerfest 2004 Opening for Damageplan
Performed at Minneapolis Mayhem w/Morbid Angel, Suffocation, and Satyricon
Performed w/Iced Earth, Exodus
Performed w/King Diamond & Anthrax
Performed w/Meshuggah & Strapping Young Lad
Headlined Tony's Annual Birthday Bash 2004
Performed and Setup Doomsday 2004 w/November's Doom
Performed LSMF 2K3 Fest
Performed/Setup Allenton 2003 (1000 people)
Performed at Summerfest 2002 w/Judas Priest
Performed at Funky 420 Metal Meltdown at Vnuks
Featured on Descent's Last Show Comp
Featured on AFB Sounds from the Ground Volume 1
Performed at Eardrum Armageddon IV 2002
Featured as 'Band of the Month' on AFB
Voted 'Most Helpful Member' AFB
Originators of Annual Doomsday Event 2000-2005
Performed Death Denied Benefit Show
Featured on Metal Harmonies Magazine in Belgium
Featured as 'Band of the Week' on WLZR Lazer 103

Phone: 920-922-1699
Email: rictusgrinforever@yahoo.com
Official Site: www.rictusgrin.com