Greet Death - New Low EP Music Album Reviews

Greet Death - New Low EP Music Album Reviews
The Flint, Michigan, doomgazers’ follow-up to 2019’s New Hell dabbles in new styles while doubling down on the unrelenting misery.

Meet the new hell: not quite the same as the old New Hell. On their 2019 album for Deathwish, Inc., Flint, Michigan miserablists Greet Death took their label's name to heart on songs like “You’re Gonna Hate What You’ve Done” and “Do You Feel Nothing?,” wrapping their nihilism in deceptively uplifting melodies. But their new EP makes overwhelming self-loathing the whole point.

A 21-minute collection of five singles released roughly every other month since September 2021, New Low initially scans as a transitional and exploratory work. Sam Boyhtari’s vocals on “I Hate Everything” and “Panic Song” dabble in mesmeric bedroom indie and oversaturated shoegaze, while Logan Gaval sticks to the low, lonesome gloom-country he favored on New Hell. Thistime, though, the mud-caked guitar forms a Pigpen dirt cloud, rather than blowing the roof off.

Yet despite the piecemeal assemblage, New Low is the most cohesive Greet Death release yet, a place where the band’s nebula of influences condenses into its own stylistic shorthand. As songwriters, Greet Death have embraced sharpness in every way—more hooks, less repetition, more concision; “Your Love Is Alcohol” is about as complicated as metaphors get. Gaval and Boyhtari once made tentative attempts to merge their two extremely disparate vocal styles, which invert their respective instrumental roles as lead guitarist and bassist. Whereas they cleanly split the lead vocal duties on Dixieland and occasionally swapped lines on New Hell, the two have achieved a newfound harmony on “Punishment Existence”; the shift in tone is subtle, but the perspective remains—that boulder isn’t going to roll itself up that hill. 

The self-aware grimness of “Punishment Existence” gets at Greet Death’s most salient quality: the kind of distinct point of view that is often a secondary concern in a style of music that can be as reliant on vibes as the vibiest Spotify playlist filler. Unlike the goth Americana or impressionistic swooning that usually accompanies slow-and-low doomgaze, Greet Death embody a relatable workingman’s dread, a middle path between the bleary tones of slowcore and rugged Midwestern yearning; though the gliding guitars on “Panic Song” evoke Ride and Slowdive, just imagine either of those bands singing about gas station food. Greet Death don’t romanticize their depression; there are no cataclysmic breakups, no untimely deaths, no single event that shakes someone to their core. The narrators on New Low go to work and come home having completely lost track of where the past eight hours went. Strip these songs down to an acoustic guitar, swap out a word or two, and they could be earnest folk songs.

Then again, songs like “Punishment Existence” and “I Hate Everything” also indicate that, nearly a decade into their career, Greet Death have developed a healthy sense of humor about themselves. The unrelenting misery of New Low’s tracklist is kind of a fan service, balancing the deadpan hilarity they convey through their stage banter and social media. “Sometimes it feels like everything’s coming to an end/I wish I could escape from this existential dread,” Gaval moans on “Punishment Existence,” and while there’s no reason to doubt his sincerity, I can imagine him making air quotes around “existential dread.” Though the record lacks a quintessential Greet Death monument to pity like “You’re Gonna Hate What You’ve Done,” New Low confirms that the only way to follow an album like New Hell is by digging a deeper hole.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

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Greet Death - New Low EP Music Album Reviews Greet Death - New Low EP Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, July 13, 2022 Rating: 5

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