Finland's Disgrace was the first band signed to Intellectual Convulsion's sub-label Modern Primitive out of France. The Turku-based band released four demos and a 7" (1990 on the infamous Seraphic Decay), did an independent European tour in 1991 of Germany, Belgium and Holland, lost guitarist Toni Stranius and released the underground, yet popular, Grey Misery which like much of the Finnish underground output of the time bore a heavy Carcass influence. Volume 2's release coincided with the bankruptcy of the record company and went without support or promotion. As relief the band released an EP called Vacuum Horror, Horror Vacuum on its own label called Crawfish in 1994 and followed this up with a contract with Germany's Morbid Records and a couple of rare 7"s. During the '90s, however; the band underwent a gradual slide into the rock sound and ended being a rock band with some psychedelic and offbeat sounds.
Sanaksenaho joined in 1994 and was followed the year after by Kupias.
Xtreem Records tracked the band down and re-issued Grey Misery with bonus demo songs in 2005. In the meantime, the group was self-releasing punk rock demos with titles like Born Tired (2004) and Hammer & Nails (2010) through its Big Money Imprint. Toni had a heart attack in 2006 and died. Volume 2 was re-released in 2011. The group gave up in 2014. More re-releases: Xtreem was issuing Disgrace’s Grey Misery alongside the Debts Of Gods EP ’91 and Inside The Labyrinth Of Depression demo ’90 in a limited edition of one hundred. The label had the Grey Misery booklets left over and decided to press the CD as a black disc.
DISGRACE - GREY MISERY - XTREEM
Death metal fans might recall that Grey Misery is not a new album, but a reissue of the debut album of Finland's Disgrace from 1992. As such, it is easy to be of two minds about the CD. Grey Misery was one of the first extreme music releases which came my way from Finland. Not only that, but the Carcass-inspired album was everything it had to be, namely underground, down-tuned, gruff, growled and rough. The album was great, but Disgrace was also soon to become one of the first to establish a pattern for Finnish band. Metal bands from Finland would release one respectably extreme album and wimp out. The list is endless, but includes Convulse, Sentenced, Xysma and Amorphis. Eventually Finland had no extreme bands anymore. They had been replaced by bubble gum bands like Children Of Bodom and Nightwish, but that did not make one feel any better. In other words, it is good to introduce the heaviness of Grey Misery to a new generation, but knowing the band's eventual discography the disc comes with a especially empty feeling.
The other point pertains the reissue itself and the inclusion of demo and 7" tracks on this disc. Labels have to concentrate on discovering new acts and leave the underground releases to the underground. Putting demos on disc or releasing old material in a new format is probably commercially smart, but does little for the underground or the joys of hunting for music.
In spite of all that Disgrace's Grey Misery is still a great album from an era gone by. Too bad most of today's teenaged kids are too busy shoving keyboards and opera vocals up their arses to notice. - Ali "The Metallian"