The Grammatrain reunion has been one with a lot less fanfare then I would think. Flying was a big record when it came out and I don’t know it’s because the band has kept it quiet or if because Pete Stewart isn’t a christian anymore that people don’t care. Whatever the reason, Grammatrain has been keeping a low profile. So low that I had no idea they put out a new record. So of course I downloaded it.
Imperium is actually pretty good. While it’s not Flying or Lonely House, Grammatrain was still able to write a good hard rock record. The album tends to fall into the category of your generic radio hard rock at times but I find myself being a little more forgiving because Pete Stewart’s vocals keep me thinking that this is Grammatrain. All 4 songs from Kneeling Between Shields are on Imperium, which is fine. I didn’t listen to their 09 ep enough to notice the songs (minus Damaged).
The album kicks off with Damaged, a solid rock song. It’s heavier then any of Grammatrain’s previous work. Not more intense, just heavier. It’s clear from the start that this band has evolved. Forever, With My Hands, Firing Lines, and Straight Down all have really chunky, heavy guitar riffs, something that wasn’t in Grammatrain’s sound back in 1998. The Hive has the same feel as Spiderweb from Flying. It’s very much a classic type song. Controlling Me and Child of Angels are really low key tracks. On this record where you have so many hard hitting riffs and heavy rock songs, the acoustic tracks are a welcome breathe of fresh air. Enemy is the best hook on the album. It would be a rock radio gem. Very catchy, very nice. The last song on the album, Atmosphere, while not a direct throwback or old school sounding song, sounds like an updated version of Grammatrain. It’s what you’d imagine the band would have sounded like if they had never broken up.
While its a good record, I think the nostalgia of listening to Grammatrain keeps me more interested in the record then if it were any band on the radio. It’s nothing groundbreaking but it’s a good purchase for fans of the band.