GRYP – “I Wanna Be God” (ep)


I wanna be GodIt’s usually interesting when a band, nearly forgotten, returns after a long hiatus.  Fans of early 2000’s Christian metal will certainly remember GRYP and here it is now 2016 and the band has returned with their I Wanna Be God ep.

For me, it was in the early 2000’s and I remember the song “Left Behind” being one of my favorites and given the way music was at the time, I never really got around to picking up a GRYP album or ep.  They were one of those bands I was always on the lookout for given the greatness of “Left Behind” but still never added them to my collection.  Curtis Shamlin’s vocals were soaringly smooth with just the right amount of raggedness in the chorus sections while the verses had a quieter, almost menacing tone.  That song did remind me a bit of Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory which is another album I still enjoy and arguably is similar in style.  From what I can piece together, GRYP started back in 1995 and released two albums, Indecision and GRYP (s/t) in 1999 and 2002 respectively to go along with two ep’s, Real in 1997 and Left Behind in 2001. In 2015 singer Curtis Shamlin resurrected the band and put together an ep of new music.

First thing I noticed was that my previous exposure to GRYP has little relevance anymore.  Gone is the Linkin Park sound and the overall smoothness to Curtis Shamlin’s voice.  The ep opens with the title track “I Wanna Be God” which is a loud, in-your-face track that features mostly Shamiln’s vocals set at a loud scream to near raggedness at times.  Heavy, dark and driving guitars drive the song along although it does seem like the band is a bit distant from the vocals.

“Can’t Deny You” starts out with some acoustic guitar and some clean vocals with supporting backing vocals before the song gets much heavier and the vocals take on a  tone almost like an old Ozzy or Rob Halford.  Musically, I hear similarities to bands like Disturbed and Godsmack, the radio-friendly heavy alternative/metal.  Jimmy Matcham on guitars makes his presence felt for the first time in this song with some solo work that adds to the song.

The ep takes a decidedly heavier tone on “Rise” but again the vocals are a bit overwhelming even though the bass work of Robert Gonzalez becomes plainly heard in the mix during parts of the song.  Shamlin’s vocals on this song are largely ragged screams, but ragged in a good way if that makes any sense, similar to some old Soundgarden (maybe?).  The song itself is rather plodding and grinding before the tempo picks up a bit toward the end.

Robert Gonzalez lays down a funky bass line to open up “Take Some More” and then keeps things going throughout much of the song, carrying the verses along.  Shamlin’s vocals this time shift from clean to ragged and back and Matcham add some more guitar fireworks for variety.

The ep closes with the nearly eight minute long epic “With a Kiss” that jumps around quite a bit in terms of not only tempo but also style and again feature some great guitar work that really for me becomes the highlight of the song.

Coming into this ep with some preconceived notions of what I might hear, did make it a bit of a challenge for me as what I expected is not what I heard.  Sure, there were bits and pieces that fit with “Left Behind” but in general, if you hadn’t told me this was GRYP, I wouldn’t have guessed.  Performances are strong on the album, but I am not a fan of the overall mix and production which seems to have the vocals too loud the band often sounding like they were performing in nearby room.  This album will be of interest for those who are fans of the more radio-friendly metal bands and is worth checking out.

Rating: 6.5/10

Written by John Jackson

1. I Wanna Be God
2. Can’t Deny You
3. Rise
4. Take Some More
5. With a Kiss

Band Members:
Curtis Shamlin – Vocals
Jimmy Matcham – Guitar
Andy Johnson – Drums
Robert Gonzalez – Bass

Record label: Independent, 2016

Listen to the ep here

Website: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Video for ‘I Wanna Be God’


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