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Rictus Grin | Living The Dream

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Metal/Punk: Thrash/Speed Metal Metal/Punk: Death Metal Moods: Mood: Angry
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Living The Dream

by Rictus Grin

Fascination with death and destruction remain a common theme as sinister nightmares and gruesome scenarios are brought to light.
Genre: Metal/Punk: Thrash/Speed Metal
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Lifeless
2:42 $0.99
2. Stalker
2:40 $0.99
3. Death Dance
3:30 $0.99
4. The Dark Hereafter
3:08 $0.99
5. Keystone Buick
4:11 $0.99
6. Rictus
2:37 $0.99
7. Morgue
3:36 $0.99
8. Poe
2:31 $0.99
9. Alucard
3:16 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Band Biography:
From the dark recesses of an asbestos filled warehouse, crawling through the ashes of obscurity Rictus Grin forged metal music as you would a sword. Wielding brutally heavy songs under a dull red glow of raunchy pleasure and morbid curiosity Rictus Grin slowly but steadily gained respect of their heavy metal peers.
Throngs of listeners thrashed in the dark and dusky halls of the warehouse and the mobs grew in size to over 300 strong, moshing to the bludgeoning weapons of madness that spilled forth from Rictus Grins' warped minds. Rictus Grin was driven to seek out new venues to house the chaos and soon became one of the most influential Midwestern bands. Lineup changes through the years created a plethora of morphing musical styles and talent, but the fascination with death and destruction remained a common theme as sinister nightmares and gruesome scenarios were brought to light.
Bent on upholding integrity and unity amongst their metal brethren, Rictus Grin created an annual Doomsday Music Festival and encouraged other bands to value the scene by setting an austere example. Having recorded 5 albums-selling 1000 copies of the 2003 release "Taste the Steel" and performing with an impressive list of metal icons, Rictus Grin is bent on touring and ruthlessly pursuing a fully immersed metal lifestyle. With current members Dave Moran on bass, Jeff Lamers on drums and Larry Weeks on guitar/vocals their onslaught of metal is heavier and far more disturbing than ever before. They have unified in an honorable menacing force determined to continue living the dream.

Major Accomplishments:
Originators of Annual Doomsday Showcase 2000-2005
Regional band of the week on WJJO Madison 1/2005
Opened for Metal Church and 3 Inches of Blood
Local Support for Ministry and Thrill Kill Kult
Showcased for Columbia and Epic Records w/Xtreme Music Group
Peformed at Summerfest 2K4 Opening for Damage Plan
Performed with Morbid Angel, Suffocation and Satyricon
Performed with Iced Earth and Exodus
Peformed with King Diamond and Anthrax
Performed with Meshuggah and Strapping Young Lad
Featured on AFB Indie Site Roster 2004 & 2005
Headlined Tony's Annual Birthday Bash 2004
Setup and Performed at Allenton (1000 in attendance)
Performed at Summerfest 2K2 with Judas Priest

Press: "If your taste is geared towards the metal edge, maybe all the smile you need can be found in Rictus Grin"-Brian Barney; Shepherd Express
"This was actually one of the best live shows I've ever seen, tons of energy, great music and sound, and they had great crowd feedback."-Cthulhu; Lunar Hypnosis
"Their gothic metal is heavier than six feet of dirt bearing down, offering enough eardrum-destroying intensity to wake the dead. Tight guitar harmonization, beefy bass, and guttural vocals are carried by explosively churning drums to create tough rock and tempo changes that will throw a metronome off course."-Brian Barney; Shepherd Express

Rictus Grin Has Performed With: Motorhead, Ministry, Thrill Kill Kult, King Diamond, Suffocation, Satyricon, Exodus, Iced Earth, Children of Bodom, Anthrax, Mudvayne, Judas Priest, Strapping Young Lad, Damageplan, Metal Church, 3 Inches of Blood, Meshuggah, Trauma Concept, Nocturne, Single Bullet Theory, Novembers Doom, Entombed, Evergray, Strychnine, Lamb of God, Beyond Therapy, Forest Fire, Katella, Muzzy Luctin, D.O.T.A.C., Underthrat, Onus, Abstraction, Dumah, Spud Monkey, Floating Face Down, Nailwounds, L.O.W., Fade, White Knuckle Trip, 9MM Solution, Roast, Bastard Sun, Putrid Pile, Snooky, Carbellion, MAI, Hollow Complex, Shallow Ground, BC3, Destiss, Dark Shift, Decapitado, Straightline, For this I Have Fallen, and many more!



to write a review

Todd Newton

An expertly assembled nine (!) song collection of airtight, melody and aggressio
Throughout my brief and often adventure-filled career (yes, I still consider it a career) as an entertainment journalist, the music “scene” (or lack thereof) in the state of Wisconsin (i.e. the land of cheese, beer and the quasi-legendary Green Bay Packers) has, for better or for worse, yielded a variety of entertaining albeit utterly forgettable artists and groups. Despite numerous noteworthy (and undoubtedly influential, at least on some level) contributions from acts such as The Buzzhorn, Boz Scaggs and The Violent Femms, (to name only a precious few), the resulting sonic carnage, as infrequent and ineffective as it may have often been, has ultimately had little impact on the public at large. Fortunately for all parties involved, there is a solution to the madness at hand. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, Rictus Grin.
On the stellar Living The Dream (2005), an expertly assembled nine (!) song collection of airtight, melody and aggression-infused Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the disturbingly dark (albeit impressively multi-dimensional) “Stalker”, and the scalding, Eric Klein co-penned “Death Dance”, immediately and permanently commands the rapt and undivided attention of even the most jaded and unimaginative of listeners (myself most definitely included) with a seamless, mostly mid-tempo barrage of gritty vocals, relentless guitars (why aren’t there any solos?) and imaginatively punishing rhythms that are (despite being almost entirely entrenched amid the fist-pumping, mosh-inducing insanity that is the not-so-recent past), without a doubt, worthy of the highest of critical and commercial accolades.
Continuing with the thought-provoking “The Dark Hereafter”, and the surprisingly full-throttle “Rictus”, the steadfast (to say the very least) combination of guitarist/vocalist Larry Weeks, bassist Dave Moran, and drummer Jeff Lamers steamrolls forward at an occassioanlly breakneck pace, effectively solidifying an undoubtedly well-deserved (and hard-fought) reputation as a creative force not to be ignored (both sonically and visually) amid the increasingly stagnant and pointlessly inbred Hard Rock and Heavy Metal genres without resorting to the shameless, payola and chart position-driven tactics so common amid the so-called “mainstream”, a much-welcomed and seemingly rare factor that makes both Rictus Grin and the guilty pleasure that is Living The Dream one of the finest independent releases of the year.
A self-produced, mixed, engineered and financed affair throughout, other standouts, including the oddly emotion-laden (albeit pummeling) “Morgue”, and the mysterious, equally impressive closer “Alucard”, offer compelling further sonic evidence (though at this point, with the inescapable presence of such an immensely impressive pedigree, none is actually needed) in support of the almost (okay, completely) unbelievable wealth of lyrical and musical ingenuity at the smoldering epicenter of each truly breathtaking composition. Thus, even the inclusion of arguably lesser significant material such as the painfully generic opener “Lifeless”, and the curiously-titled, sound effect-riddled (were the unbelievably disgusting slurping sounds really necessary?) rumbler “Keystone Buick”, fail to subtract from the overall festive mood within.
Although one might effectively argue (and I, for the most part, would wholeheartedly agree) that the majority (if not all) of the undeniably low budget wares (this is an independent release, after all) contained herein may or may not be for everyone, one must, at the very least, sincerely admire the groups seemingly unique determination to their craft, a characteristic that instantly sets them apart from their few would-be contemporaries (as few and far between as they may be). If you are looking (and we certainly hope that you are) for a refreshingly imaginative alternative to the mindless din and clatter that is so often force fed en mass (i.e. Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Staind and their like-minded brethren), then this, my friends, might just be the kick ass cure for what ails you. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Select Discography:
Living The Dream (2005)
Taste The Steel (2003)
The Truth Of Darkness (2002)
No Regrets (2001)
Life Without Frown (1999)


Metal Mike

Review Rictus Grin—Living The Dream (indie)
If you search hard enough for Independent thrash bands from the USA you could be lucky enough to find this 3 piece band called Rictus Grin who hail from Allenton, Wisconsin. Rictus Grin, from reading all about them in their bio has shared the stage with many of the juggernaut heavy metal acts and played enough clubs, pubs and bars showcasing their aggressive thrash onslaught to hunderds of Heavy Metal fans.
Technically, Rictus Grin is one of the best at what they do as they produce a raw and powerful thrash sound led by guitarist/ vocalist Larry Weeks. Not a lot of bands today can brag about sounding like 80's or early 90's thrash acts like Sepultura, Megadeth, Metal Church or even Anvil. Living The Dream is a well produced Indie CD showing an impressive drum attack to go along with riffs that chug along with no letting up for a second.
Some of the most creative tempo changes are heard track by track as well as the grunts belted out by Larry Weeks' deep vocals. The unfortunate part is that Living The Dream is only just over 28 minutes long. But even that doesn't stop this CD from being something well worth listening to, and often. Rictus Grin may have a cult of diehard fans under their wing but it may not be long before they get the exposure they are really looking for. Staying an underground cult icon in heavy metal isn't always best in the long run but Rictus Grin may just be able to break free from that and get the attention they seek. Things look very good for the future of Rictus Grin and in today's music world that says a lot. They do have a lot to offer and with time it will all pay off. Rictus Grin forever! Score: 8.5/10


RICTUS GRIN - Living The Dream
This is the fifth album of the Thrash Metal trio, plus a session member, that hails from the USA, under the name Rictus Grin. Surprisingly, this band hasn’t signed yet a contract with a proper record label, even though they had some very good reviews, especially for the 2003 release Taste the Steel, and performed live, supporting some major Metal bands (e.g., Motorhead, Exodus, Iced Earth). Their sound is something like Thrash meets Death Metal with a dash of Doom.
The impressive guitar work is definitely one of the highlights of the album, featuring a plethora of extremely heavy riffs and a solid rhythm section. The song arrangements have their roots back in the mid-eighties, with music influences like Slayer and Overkill. Unfortunately, the aforementioned influences have less to do with the vocals, which have some Hardcore moments that just don’t fit well with the album’s sound. Maybe it’s an unfortunate attempt to modernize their sound, in search of a bigger audience that will give them the opportunity of a record deal. Aside from that, there are some good Death Metal growls and aggressive vocals in Tom Araya’s (Slayer) singing style. Notable along with the fast-riffing are the drums, due to Jeff Lamers steady and compact performance. The production has succeeded in giving the proper strength and volume in the sound, receiving additional credit since the bass guitar has its “voice” comprised of some skillful fills.
The album opener, “Lifeless,” has a distinct Death Metal direction with some very good Slayer–ish riffs. Next, there is a ton of a heavy track, entitled “Stalker,” comprising battering drums and a mid-tempo guitar rhythm section. A cutting edged riff is like a small intro in the best track of the album, under the name “Death Dance.” The riff gives its place to the heavy rhythm section, which slows down, in tempo terms, just before the bass guitar takes the lead to a Thrash-breaking outro. “The Dark Hereafter” follows the above music pattern with tempo changes and an appropriate rhythm section for headbanging in the front rows. During the chorus, there are some hardcore vocals that just don’t fit into the Thrash sound of the song. After “Keystone Buick,” which is about a car that runs on beer, there clearly is a hardcore song in “Rictus,” that gets out of the whole Thrash/Death Metal concept. The band’s potential in riff-making can be easily recognized in “Morgue,” an up-tempo song with clear Thrash direction and fast drumming. “Poe” is another song with Hardcore vocals, but this time they fit nicely in the music, which has something from the Gothenburg sound (In Flames, Soilwork). Last but not least is “Alucard,” a Thrash song that slows down for a while, reveiling the Doom side of Rictus Grin.
These guys need to find a better place for the Hardcore vocals in order to fit in their own music style that will provide the recognition they deserve. They also need a record label to help them out with a better production and possibly better artwork. Apart from the above, Living the Dream is a very good, almost-Thrash record that's worth buying.
Band official site: www.RictusGrin.com

Luke Offield

Rictus Grin-Taste
Rictus Grin has released a demo for Living the Dream that showcases the material for their new album. This music will beat you through the earth and thrust you into the deepest, most agonizing pits of hell. The new songs are heavier than ever and are supported by lyrics and storylines that draw you in and never release you. The guitars and bass are faster, more aggressive and unconditionally unrelenting. The vocals have some new talents to show too. He gets lower with his roars and better matches the themes and somewhat twisted musicality. These new rhythms will cause your muscles to seize, spasm, and tear. This time around the evil that was hinted at in the last album has nearly taken control. Living the Dream definitely has the Rictus Grin signature on it and I wait in great anticipation for the final version of the CD. Waste no more time and head to www.geocities.com/rictusgrinforever to check out this massively heavy and capable band.

Antonis Maglaras

Album Review by Antonis Maglaras
If you read the biography of Rictus Grin you will see that they have already shared the stage with bands like: METAL CHURCH, MINISTRY, KING DIAMOND, ANTHRAX, ICED EARTH, EXODUS and so on. They surely have a lot of experience and they have played hundreds of live shows. Actually in June 2005 they will hit Iceland for a tour. "Living The Dream" is their fifth so far album and it was released last month. Their music can be described as heavy / thrash American metal with harsh vocals. Imagine a bit more aggressive vocals from thrash metal and you will have the picture in your mind. I had the chance to also hear their previous album "Taste The Steel" and I must say that the band has made a progress and on their new album the compositions are well worked and you can feel more power in their music. I believe you can feel the live atmosphere of Rictus Grin. So if this land, USA, wants they have some really quality bands out there. Don't make the mistake and not buy this album or at least just listen to it. Well done guys!


Terrific CD
The sound was awesome and the overall quality of the music is incredible. I felt like moshing around the house while listening. These guys deserve a major record contract! Heavy, moshable aggressive music!


Rictus Grin: Living The Dream
How this Wisconsin death trio has avoided my ear until now I'll never know, but "Living the Dream", Rictus Grin's fifth album has found a comfortable spot near the top of my playlist. Having toured relentlessly over the years with names like Motorhead, King Diamond, Judas Priest, Ministry and a whole crapload of big names in the metal field, makes me wonder where the hell have I been or where the hell have they been that our paths haven't crossed, but oh what the hell , who cares, I know them now. C'mon somebody major sign these guys already!

"Living the Dream" is some kick ass mid western death/thrash and for an Independent album sounds unbelievably good. Maybe they don't need a major, just a good distributor. The songs are short and the whole disc only covers twenty eight minutes, but it's U.S. death at it's best. "Lifeless" is a bit of speedy thrash with growling vocals to open up and "Stalker" combines a pounding melody with some good drum kicking. Both are under three minutes, but "Death Dance" and "The Dark Hereafter" thrash us a little longer with steady, heavy, speedy melody and some good leads and basswork. This is some solid American Thrash with good death vocals. "Keystone Buick" is the only song to top four minutes and starts with the sound of a beer opening, thrashes and chops heavily, kicks up some speed and finishes with a beer chugging, disgusting belch. Friggin' awesome!! "Rictus" changes vocals to more screaming than growling, and alternates chopping rhythms and speedy melodies. "Morgue", "Poe", and "Alucard" finish this out in much the same fashion. Chopping, then kicking, growling and stomping. Showing speed and staying tight.

To be simply honest, Rictus Grin, is some of the best American Death I never heard. Now, that you're back from Iceland, maybe you guys can bring it to New York or Jersey. Cause, I'd like to hear a whole lot more!

08/08/2005 Tgod