Grace Gale - A Few Easy Steps to Secure Heli-Camel Safety (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Grace Gale

A Few Easy Steps to Secure Heli-Camel Safety (2005)


There's something to be said for an explosive start.

There's something to be said for an explosive finish.

Combining the rock'n'roll swagger and attitude of Every Time I Die, with throat-searing screams, and the occasional well sung vocals, Grace Gale accomplishes both those feats. With off-kilter rhythms and completely explosive tendencies, Grace Gale are breathing some fresh air into the hardcore scene. It's not original, and it's not spectacular, but it's brilliantly executed, which is already more than can be said for the good majority of acts around today. This album is a visceral experience, providing more than a fair share of sharp twists and turns. With their tongue in cheek lyrical tendencies (again, ETID), Grace Gale careen through all nine songs with reckless abandon.

Wasting no time, the band sets the stage with "Tijuana vs. Albuquerque," igniting the band's fire right from the get-go. And as much as you try and pin down a band they sound just like, you simply cannot. "Albuquerque" combines lightning quick guitar work, and those searing screams with some solid breakdowns that will make kids into that sort of thing go wild. Momentum continues with "Chairman of the Nessie Alliance," which has a far more traditional hardcore sound to start things out, until the vocal freakout about halfway through breaks things up, but the frenetic pace kept by the band's drummer simply will not relent. The song also makes it fairly apparent the type of range that the lead singer maintains, and it's pretty damn impressive. Not fully realized until later in the album, but impressive nonetheless.

Oh, and the song titles.

This is really my one point of major contention with the album, is that it steps right into that pit so many other similar bands call home, with the ridiculous and long-winded song titles. "I Don't Know How to Put This.. But I'm Kind of a Big Deal" and "There's Nothing Honorable About This Discharge" are just a few examples. Maybe it's just being picky, but that's a trend I wouldn't mind seeing die. One of the simpler titles goes hand in hand with one of the best songs; that's the John Cusack-inspired "From Erik to John." It's far less spastic than the rest of the songs on the album, but the dissonant guitars and distorted vocals make for a solid minute and a half, until leading back into the mayhem that is "James Caan Make Yourself At Home." The guitar work here is some of the best you'll find, and all the starts and stops only make things better. They close the album in fine fashion as well, with "Six of Hearts," which just gets better and more chaotic as it progresses. Great final track.

For the better (just about everything) and for the worse (song titles), A Few Easy Steps To Secure Heli-Camel Safety is a high-energy, frenzied record. Here's to a band that can finish what it started.