Grst Releases “Fire Therein,” an EP of Weakling Covers

Fire Therein EP Cover

Late last night, Oregonian black metal group Grst released a new EP for free download, entitled Fire Therein. Fans of legendary USBM act Weakling will know this as a reference to the song “Cut Their Grain and Place Fire Therein,” which is one of two Weakling songs that Grst has chosen to cover on this EP. Some may say it’s unnecessarily ambitious to cover a band reputed for setting the framework for a great deal of North American black metal, but I feel this half-hour offering keeps itself nicely balanced. The production is a bit crisper, and it’s obvious that Josh Vincent (responsible for most of the instrumentation on this EP) took great care and spent a long time working on this. Additionally, it’s of note that vocalist Kenneth Parker retains his own unique style rather than aping John Gossard’s famous howls.

An issue that strikes me, personally, when thinking about covering anything from Dead as Dreams is that the lyrics were never printed and distributed. This means that any lines delivered as a cover are either the result of solid guesswork or pure improvisation.  While this may serve troublesome for those who want a pure, direct reinterpretation of the songs, I think it’s important to recall just how raw and improvised the vocal performance on the original album felt. Even if lyrics were penned out and put together, there’s an urgency and sense of experimentation present on the album that places it in a timeless and groundbreaking category.

So, does Grst deliver? I believe so. The riffs are pretty much spot on and there’s enough variation for me as a listener to distinguish this from the original. My only real criticism here is that I can see a lot of people listening to this a few times and then returning to the familiar version. Still, I can tell Grst had a lot of fun recording Fire Therein, and it clearly serves its purpose in drawing up some attention to the band, who plans on releasing a full-length LP entitled Plague Seed in the months to come. Think of Fire Therein as a teaser, an idea of where the band’s creative attitude sits as they prepare to unleash their album.

So, what do you think about this album of covers? Is it a solid homage to a classic? Does it fall short of your expectations? Get in touch and let me know your thoughts. In the meantime, Fire Therein is streaming below, courtesy of the fine folks at Glossolalia Records.