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“Down Not Out” by Greye

In what feels like a tribute to the rock n’ roll gods of yesteryear, Greye dishes out a hard vocal harmony in “Down Not Out,” their latest single, that is retro and yet not so similar to past works as to make the song dismissible by audiences as too old-school for contemporary tastes. “Down Not Out” is all about its devilish melodies and sweeping rock hook, and among all of the tracks that I’ve heard this band record so far, it strikes me as being one of the more reserved in style. This might be a new lineup, but longtime fans needn’t fret – this is still the Greye you know and love.

The guitar parts in this song redeem anything that the more radio-ready points in the chorus might potentially have taken away from the song as a whole, and I think that the tonality of the riffing alone makes this a worthwhile listen for southern rockers in particular. This arrangement is confirmed hard rock, but there’s not a lot of machismo to the instrumental melodies here. Beneath the high polish at the top of the mix is a guttural jam that could have been much more exciting were it allowed to spill out of the stereo with just a little more ease.

I wasn’t entirely sure what my overall take would be on “Down Not Out” until I played it at the proper volume, which is required when examining a piece like this one. The narrative is theatrical and compelling on its own, but it isn’t absorbed in your blood unless you’re appreciating the carnage of the band when there’s nothing to conceal their might.  This group loves to go hard, and while this isn’t a live cut, it has all the intensity of one for sure.

My gut tells me that, even amidst its most animated moments in this rendition, “Down Not Out” would probably sound a lot better in a concert, where Greye could manipulate into a freeform juggernaut unbound by any of the limitations created in this setting. This band has a strong jam energy to their sound, and until I’ve seen them on stage for myself, I can’t help but wonder how much of their depth is getting filtered out of the mix in these studio recordings. They’ve got the brawn to make even heavier music than they already are, and I’d love to hear them push their style more live.

“Down Not Out” isn’t the first batch of hot riffs that Greye has released since first garnering the attention of the music media, but it’s still among the more noteworthy tracks that I’ve encountered in the last few months. Fans of southern and hard rock will have to decide for themselves how much justice it does for their sound, but if it’s a sample offering of what’s to come next for this group in the future, I’m confident that they’re going to continue to gain momentum in certain circles as 2023 turns to 2024. I’ll be following their story, and I doubt I will be alone.

Mindy McCall



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