Bart M. : One of the things I started to really find very interesting as a kid was the topic of serial killers. I would not call myself a fan, I did not fully agree with what these guys did in their spare time, but I found it fascinating to learn what was going on in their heads. One of the names that stuck by me is that of the Green River Killer, a kind of modern Jack The Ripper who was active in and around Seattle, Washington. In 1984 in that same city a band formed that, according to some, would lay down the foundations of what would later be the grunge movement. That band was Green River, named after the aforementioned serial killer.
I write "according to some", not because I disagree, there is certainly some truth in that statement, but because it has not become clear to me whether or not the band itself agrees with it. That is not of any importance to this review though, because the impression Green River left behind is as good as tangible. Maybe even more than that of the bands that arose from the ashes of this band after they disbanded in 1987, with some quarreling. (Those bands are Pearl Jam and Mudhoney, to make the information complete.) Green River is held responsible for the so called Seattle Sound, and if you want to know what that sounds like, have I got good news for you: label Sub Pop Records has decided they will (re)release two albums by Green River, in a deluxe format. It is the perfect opportunity to get a hold of this band's entire discography in one go. Both albums will be released simultaneously.
One is called 'Dry As A Bone', just like the second EP the band once made. The deluxe version does not just include all the songs from that EP: there are eleven more tracks on it, gathered from this source or that. Altogether it sounds like one very solid album and what we hear is a pretty reckless band that appears to make music just because they are aching to do so; a band of which each member knows exactly how to get maximum groove out of their instrument. Grunge? No. I would rather call it some kind of progressive post punk rock, with layer upon layer of interesting, good instrumentation. It reminds me of VoiVod. Not just the sound of the voice but also the enormous amount of renewing guitar and bass parts and the many logical but refreshing twists that the music keeps making. It is not even a specific genre that this band puts down, it is an especially pleasant hotchpotch of styles that makes you wonder whether it is useful at all to keep using the labels that we do.
The other record is 'Rehab Doll' and this is a deluxe version of Green River's debut album. In this case it means remixed versions of the original tracks; versions that, according to drummer Alex Vincent, are a much better representation of what the band had in mind than the '88 versions. Less polished and glossy and a lot rawer, we once again hear the eagerness of a band that does not care about conventions but throws anything they deem fit into the mix. And make it sound absolutely awesome. In addition to these eight songs we get a number of bonus and demo tracks. I normally find these only interesting to those few people who enjoy discussing until the small hours the subtle differences between the myriad subgenres of heavy music, but here it gives a nice insight into the band's development.