Gray Matter - Thog (Cover Artwork)

Gray Matter

Thog (1992)


Man, when I found this record in some crappy store in Camden, London I was so damn pleased! Gray Matter are a band who often are forgotten when giving reference to the early `80s revolution summer bands in Washington, D.C., often overshadowed by the more well-known emo acts like Embrace and Rites of Spring, which is a shame because they're really bloody good.

Gray Matter played a catchy style of melodic punk rock in their earlier days, only hinting at the `80s emo trend which was going on during the time. However, on this record their music seems to have matured somewhat into a more reserved brand of rock-and-roll-meets-post-hardcore, which reminds me a lot of early Fugazi.

The LP is definitely a lot more interesting in regards to each individual song; in their earlier efforts, the differences in each song were not so obvious, but Gray Matter's songwriting ability seems to have dramatically improved on this. The vocals seem to have changed as well -- although I am not too sure whether or not they had switched vocalists on this release,

The production is typical of a Dischord record, as it is a lot more produced than what other punk bands would have allowed during the time. However, given the style of punk they play on this LP, it is definitely complementary to the music. "Killing Direction" has to be one of my favorite songs on the LP, which kind of reminds me of the more reserved sections of Leatherface; this song perfectly displays Gray Matter's knack for writing a catchy chorus without becoming poppy.

In conclusion, Thog is an excellent display of an early `80s Washington, D.C. emo band taking a different direction without straying too far from their roots, but at the same time keeping things fresh enough to keep surprising the listener as they trekked throughout their discography.

My recommendation would be to check out their earlier stuff first if your looking for some D.C punk rock with an emo tinge and to go for this record if you're looking for something more mature and rocking.