Unreason in the Age of Madness is the latest release from long-running Montreal band GrimSkunk. Formed in 1988, the band brings elements of industrial, hard rock, post punk, and a whole whack of other styles to this latest release. Despite covering a lot of sonic ground, Unreason in the Age of Madness didn’t do much of anything for me. The different styles throughout the album seem more unfocused than they do experimental and the overly political lyrics came across as try-hard and uninteresting.
Unreason in the Age of Madness kicks off with the song “Let’s Start a War,” a heavy industrial song with a bit of a dystopian vibe. The song reminded me of a less-than-stellar KMFDM track. My main gripe with the opener, however, is the lyrics:
“It’s the 21st century, we’ll lock you up if you disagree. There is
no place for critical thought. Just obey, or you’ll get shot.”
I have no problem with artists getting political with their music, but the colour-by-number feel of the lyrics and their placement here, and throughout the whole album, was boring to listen to.
“Sick Bastards” didn’t fare much better, sounding like little more than an uninteresting mashup of Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath. GrimSkunk dabble in a lot of different styles of music throughout the album and never sound like they’re struggling to keep up. The problem is that they aren’t doing anything interesting with these different styles. It often just sounds like they’re paying heavy homage to whoever is prominent in whatever genre they’re employing at the time.
Despite the problems I had with the album, there were a few standout moments on Unreason in the Age of Madness. There are some great melodies in the power-poppy tune “Gimme Some Revolution” as well as the much jazzier “Hanging out in the Rain,” both of which give GrimSkunk a good chance to flex their vocal chops. The most interesting song on the album for me was “Les Insoumis,” a cool mix of gypsy music and hard rock that was a fun listen from start to finish.
The biggest compliment I can give GrimSkunk on this one is that I appreciate their willingness to experiment. I can say wholeheartedly that no two songs on Unreason in the Age of Madness sound the same. Unfortunately, not many of the musical choices that the band made did anything for me; that goes double for the lyrics. I was simply expecting more from a band who has been at it this long .
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Mike Milito