Artist Spotlight

Review: The Grizzled Mighty, “Closed Knuckle Jaw”

No Comments 8 February 2015

Review: The Grizzled Mighty, “Closed Knuckle Jaw”

“Enter Closed Knuckle Jaw: It’s real, it’s honest, and it’s coming straight at you like a freight train. Even in its quieter moments.”

Artist: The Grizzled Mighty

Album: Closed Knuckle Jaw

Genre: Rock / Blues

RIYL: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Wolfmother, Eagles of Death Metal

The Grizzled Might

“The Grizzled Mighty was formed in the fiery belly of an active volcano. From the center of the Earth they erupted, spewed forth like a flaming phoenix.” There is no better way to say that as this hard-rocking duo from Seattle’s press kit spells out so boldly exactly what it sounds like the first (and every subsequent) time you hear The Grizzled Mighty. I love a tight, loud, ferocious hard-rocking duo; and it’s been awhile since I’ve heard one that sounds this good on record. And this duo just seems to get better and better with the release of their third album, Closed Knuckle Jaw.

As a listener, it’s pure musical therapy; after a long week of highs, lows and everything in between, putting this record on at full volume has a way of dispelling the demons that lurk in the shadows. And there’s that word: pure. Ryan Granger (vocals, guitar) and Lupe Flores (drums) do not make music full of posture or pretentious drama. Enter Closed Knuckle Jaw: It’s real, it’s honest, and it’s coming straight at you like a freight train. Even in its quieter moments. And they manage this without sounding heavy; it’s vulnerable but assured in its truth.

Closed Knuckle Jaw rips right into the driving “Chantael,” a roiling force of nature that immediately lets you know Granger and Flores have come to the table with a taut, driven style of songwriting that taps straight into a massive power source. “Marble Mouth” confirms this strong sense of direction and style with a fearsome vocal performance from Granger and relentless drumming from Flores. When “Need You Tonight” takes us on a musical headspin into acoustic territory, however, that’s when the subtlety and strength really shines. This is more Ryan Bingham-esque or Sturgill Simpson in nature, falling in line with a classic country storytelling style but still fitting cleanly in with the rest of the record.

“Well Run Dry,” in similar style, drags on some classic rhythm and blues influences with an assertiveness that’s incredibly sexy and gritty all at once. A dirty groove, laid back vocal and muscle-driven guitar hook put this one over the top. “Tap Drips,” “Long Way Home” and “Finer Things,” the album closer, also hook into a wealth of musical influences including everything from blues to southern rock to punk to underpin the unique sound of The Grizzled Mighty’s style.

To assume that The Grizzled Mighty play from a place of loudness vs. artistry would be a huge mistake. The tracks on Closed Knuckle Jaw are well-written (and even better executed), melodic and well-rounded. Granger and Flores clearly love what they do, you can hear it all over this record. Having had the fortune to see them play live in the past, it’s a true testament that the intense energy they perform with translates so beautifully to this album. Closed Knuckle Jaw is one of my favorites of the year so far, and a pitch-perfect representation of what this duo does so well. A great rock record.

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