Review: Grandmaster, Grandmaster

Funk prog rock supergroup lures listeners through each stage of cosmic cult indoctrination

Funk prog rock supergroup Grandmaster lures listeners through each stage of cosmic cult indoctrination with their self-titled debut effort. Founded by Nick Leon, Blaise Eldred, and Connor Mizell, the concept for the ensemble stemmed from Leon’s interaction with an online scammer and their ramblings of secret societies and destiny. Similarly, the mind-bending album disguises its sinister undertones with animated arrangements, while its lyrics promise all-encompassing knowledge in exchange for unwavering piety. Opening liturgy “Sacred Prophecy” swells with ceremonial bells and striking percussion before a maniacal laugh closes the valiant introduction.

A force of funk-fueled fire, the 10-member band seamlessly melds rich brass horns (“Holy Star”) and buoyant piano lines (“Castle Door”) as their stacked harmonies radiate that of a church choir. The bass-heavy “Testament” touches on sacrificial isolation (“Everything must go/ Everyone you know”) and the hymnal “Oath” delves into unconditional devotion (“Waiting on epiphany/ Everything I own is yours”). The record’s chiming synths and otherworldly accents sprinkle a celestial gleam onto its jaunty instrumentals. Electro-studded epic “Boss Battle” crescendos with static shreds and cymbal crashes before distant piano keys call back to the opening track’s familiar melody. An automated voice repeats “Insert coin” until the jangle of a coin entering a slot abruptly closes the album. In 40 minutes, Grandmaster delivers a full-bodied first work and their dedication to storytelling is admirable – just make sure not to drink the Kool-Aid.



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