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Sunday Old School: Grip Inc.

Throughout the history of the Sunday Old School, we’ve looked at a number of undervalued bands formed by musicians from more famous bands. Be it the recent article of Fastway, formed by Motorhead guitarist,"Fast" Eddie Clarke, the collaboration between former Sepultura/Soulfly frontman, Max Cavalera with Fudge Tunnel’s, Alex Newport on Nailbomb, or Rob Halford’s endeavours with Fight and Two. This week, Sunday Old School will continue this by taking a gander at what drummer Dave Lombardo got up to shortly after leaving Slayer for the second time.

After taking his leave from the thrash giants, Lombardo put together a new outfit with Polish guitarist, Waldemar Sorychta, a former member of the German thrash metal group, Despair. They took their influence from the groove metal style which had been popularised by Pantera and christened their new outfit, Grip Inc., being joined in their musical pursuit by British vocalist, Gus Chambers, a former member of punk band, The Squad, and bass player, Jason Viebrooks. This new quartet didn’t take long to attract interest from record companies and before long, they signed with German label, SPV.

The band were soon at work recording music and in 1995, they released their debut full length album, "Power of Inner Strength," which earned praise for the musicianship displayed by the members, though the record itself received something of a mixed reception. Having Lombardo in the lineup seemed like something of a double edged sword for Grip Inc., with Sorychta complaining that people would either moan that they didn’t sound like Slayer, or point to the double bass drumming and say that the band sounded too much like Slayer.

Whatever the case, it wasn’t long before work on a sophomore album commenced, surfacing in 1997 under the title, "Nemesis." It wasn’t quite as heavy as its predecessor, focusing perhaps a little more on the groove side of the genre, though were some thrash elements on show such as on the song, "Pathetic Liar." The general consensus was that, "Nemesis" was a more mature album than, "Power..." showing a band evolving rather than rehashing their music and crafting plenty of fan favourites such as, "Rusty Nail" and "War Between One," amongst others.

Following the release of "Nemesis," the band experienced their first lineup change when Viebrooks parted company with the group and was replaced by Stuart Carruthers. With a new member in tow, Grip Inc. recorded and released a third album in 1999 entitled, "Solidify," which was once again a fan pleaser, with some calling it their best work. Again, the band continued to shed the ferocious elements of metal, concentrating more on different rhythms and song structures, complete with outstanding vocal performances from Chambers. Once again, Grip Inc. were able to forge more great tracks, coming in the guises of songs like, "Isolation," "Amped" and the instrumental closer, "Bug Juice."

The same year that "Solidify" was released, Lombardo unleashed another project, Fantomas, which also featured Faith No More singer, Mike Patton and Buzz Osborne of Melvins fame. They would release two albums before the drummer made headlines by returning to Slayer. Since the thrash legends were taking their time in coming up with new material, a third Fantomas album came out in 2004, and so too did the fourth, and final Grip Inc. album. The record, entitled "Incorporated," received some of the best reviews in the history of the band and once again, delighted fans with weird and wonderful time signatures, experimentation with other instruments such as cello and sitar and stellar production from Sorychta, who by now had made a name for himself as a producer, having worked with the likes of Lacuna Coil, Moonspell and Therion amongst many others.

Once the record was released, Lombardo revealed that Grip Inc. was being rested for a while so he could concentrate on Slayer. Sadly, in 2008, Gus Chambers passed away in what was initially viewed as a suicide, before it was discovered that his cause of death was actually an accidental combination of medication and alcohol. Lombardo and Sorychta have both stated numerous times since that it would be wrong to bring back Grip Inc. with another singer, as Chambers’ vocals were such a large part of the band. While there may never be a reunion, this week the band will release their first output in eleven years, with an EP named, "Hostage to Heaven," the title track of which is an alternative version of a song from the "Power of Inner Strength" album, as well as three previously unreleased songs.

Grip Inc. - "Ostracized"

Grip Inc. - "Heretic War Chant"

Grip Inc. - "Rusty Nail"

Grip Inc. - "Pathetic Liar"

Grip Inc. - "Bug Juice"

Grip Inc. - "Amped"

Grip Inc. - "Curse (of the Cloth)"

Grip Inc. - "The Answer"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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6 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Grip Inc."

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Drum_Junkie's avatar

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1. Drum_Junkie writes:

Great SOS. I saw them open up for Morbid Angel in 1995 and they put on a hell of a show. I've always been impressed with how fluid Dave's single strokes are across the toms. I was glad that he branched out from Slayer and founded Grip. Sucked about Gus, though. The punk energy he brought is hard to imitate.

# Jun 8, 2015 @ 4:01 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rex_84's avatar

Writer

2. Rex_84 writes:

I also saw Grip Inc. open for Morbid Angel in '95. It was awesome seeing two of the best drummers in metal on the same stage.

# Jun 11, 2015 @ 6:05 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Blindgreed1's avatar

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3. Blindgreed1 writes:

Gus was amazing in Grip. The Power Of Inner Strength is still in my rotation.

# Jun 11, 2015 @ 7:39 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Drum_Junkie's avatar

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4. Drum_Junkie writes:

Cool, Rex! I caught them at Harpo's in Detroit, which was a pretty cool venue. Dave and Pete both amazed me that night, but if memory still serves me, I'd have to say that Grip stole that show.

# Jun 12, 2015 @ 9:04 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Rex_84's avatar

Writer

5. Rex_84 writes:

Drum Junkie, I was at the same show.

# Jun 18, 2015 @ 2:41 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Drum_Junkie's avatar

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6. Drum_Junkie writes:

No Sh|t! And now we're both southern boys - go figure. I can't remember the name of the local band that opened. They weren't very good, sounded muddy/sloppy, but that could have been the curse of the sound guy. I remember driving from Flint and getting there right as the door were opening. Somehow, I got a parking spot d@mn near in front of the venue.

I lived in Flint from Oct. 94 through Dec. 95. In addition to this show, I caught Pantera-Type-O at the fairgrounds and Ozzy-FearFactory at the Detroit State Theatre. I remember talking to Burton while waiting for the doors to open and getting picked by the radio station to go backstage afterwards to get Ozzy's autograph. I got Randy Castillo's and Joe Holmes to sign my pass also. THAT was a helluva night.

# Jun 18, 2015 @ 3:00 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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