By Adam Waldman
Everyone has their demons, and their own way of staring those demons down. Once upon a time, Ryan Grim, Mike Morello, and Tres Sins were on the outside looking in. Outcasts that didn’t fit into any of the usual high school cliques. Conforming to meet the expectations of others is not in their DNA. It wasn’t when facing the challenges of youth, and isn’t today as they embrace the darkness in a way that will help them rise above the din in the current rock music climate.
American Grim has no interest in being just another face in the crowd or chasing trends to fit in. Channeling their respective angst in productive, creative ways has taken this trio to where they are today.
Frustration with the uphill battle that rock artists face in modern times led Ryan Grim into the world of mixed martial arts. With extreme dedication and discipline, Grim mastered the art of Jiu-Jitsu. It wasn’t long before he hatched a plan to bring his two greatest passions together.
His previous band, Death Throb, was formed specifically to create music for the MMA cage fights that he put together. Fighters sporting Death Throb swag captured the attention of James Jeda (CEO of Rocktagon Worldwide)…
“I discovered Death Throb through their MMA connection, but I knew that these two brothers had untapped potential. Call it a gut feeling from decades of music industry experience. Unlike most signings where there is a clear direction, this one was made on instinct and the determination to figure things out as the relationship developed.”
American Grim has more than validated Jeda’s vision already. Conventionality be damned! These New Jersey rockers march to the beat of their own drum, each bringing something unique to the table.
The chemistry between this trio of childhood friends is undeniable, and one that they fiercely protect. Both Morello and Grim play bass, but neither does so in a live setting. The precision that it takes to play to track on stage is usually reserved for the likes of progressive legends like Rush and Queensryche. Developing artists rarely have the courage or talent to pull it off. American Grim does! But then again, they are not your typical band.
American Grim is more than a band, rather a collective cult of personality that like-minded people will be drawn to. Self-sufficient visionaries with prolific writing abilities.
Their bold concept album – Ultra Black – features 13 monster tracks culled from several dozen songs written over the past two years. It’s no accident that this release arrives around Halloween. American Grim is not the type of band that makes you want to soak in the sun with the top down as you drive towards a day at the beach. Their brand of darkness fits best with the gray skies and barren trees of autumn.
As I listened to Ultra Black several times over, I was overtaken by a sort of theater of the mind that played like a movie in my head. Rather than just do a typical album review, I decided to try something different to pique the interest of others. A different kind of band warrants a different kind of review…
Imagine if you will, an ancient castle on a foggy night, illuminated by beams of moonlight piercing through ominous clouds. Bats swarm the castle turrets as if to send out a menacing warning to those who dare cross the threshold of the spiked wrought iron gate. Chills shoot down your spine as a bolt of lightning splits the sky and electrifies the antique weather vane atop the castle.
If this scenario makes your skin crawl, then American Grim’s Ultra Black may be a little too much for you. On the other hand, if this scenario intrigues you and makes you want to venture further to see what lies within the walls of the candlelit rooms of the castle, let the journey begin…
You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed into…the “American Grim Zone,” where things aren’t merely dark…they’re Ultra Black.
The creaky floorboards squeal beneath your feet as a chill passes through your body. The NIGHTMARE has begun. WHITE WALLS covered with cobwebs sway forebodingly in the eerie dark of night. Is it a GHOST or some other LIVING TERROR that grabs you by the throat, making it difficult to BREATHE?
Inside this ASYLUM, you’re PARALYZED with fear. No escape, you’re all ALONE, except for the spirits that live within the castle walls…
The monstrous, industrial spirits of Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie. The gothic spirit of Type O Negative. The angst-ridden spirit of Linkin Park, and the defiant, mysterious spirit of Slipknot.
On All Hallows’ Eve, do you safely walk suburban neighborhoods on a mad candy expedition, or do you embrace the darkness and terror of haunted houses? If you fall into the latter category, American Grim is YOUR band…
Welcome to the show!
CLICK HERE for Ultra Black pre-orders.
Check out “Nightmare” (the first single off of Ultra Black) below…