Grayceon Credit: Rohini Moradi Sweeney

In their nearly 15 years as a band, San Francisco’s Grayceon have reimagined the traditional shapes of metal with challenging song structures, thought-provoking lyrics, and a sound that often feels orchestral despite being largely produced by a trio of cello, guitar, and drums. On their fifth album, Mothers Weavers Vultures, the group make a plea for humanity to build a better future, no matter the hardships along the way—a fitting capstone for a year most of us are glad to leave behind. Made during the pandemic and the resulting shutdown of the music industry, as well as during what would turn out to be California’s worst wildfire season in history, the album is a product of its time: despair, isolation, ruination, and grief for the natural world suffuse its six tracks. But rather than rehash the greed, politics, and power struggles that led us down this path, Grayceon take a more intimate look at our individual roles and our capacity to change. With its stately riffs, sticky hooks, and warm, naturalistic production by Jack Shirley, “The Lucky Ones” implores us to open our eyes to the awakening in the world and realize that all we have is this moment to make something of that awareness before we wreck our only home. The somber mood continues through “The Bed,” which intertwines the mournful cello of front woman Jackie Perez Gratz with imagery of an intimate relationship gone sour and a world on fire—whether for love or for other comforts, it says, people will crawl back to the very thing that’s destroying them. As tempting as it is to imagine that the new year will in itself change things for the better, we’re still very much in the thick of it—but Mothers Weavers Vultures suggests that together we might find a way forward.   v