Like being thrust into a predatory mosh pit of agitated woolly mammoths, the Ride The Snake EP from one of the UK’s most exhausting and inventive sculptors of heavy duty riffs and contagion clad rhythms wrapped in funk kissed intrusive grooves continues the towering presence of a titan of consumptive intensity. Groan are no strangers to acclaim and it is hard to expect anything but another fever of praise and strong reactions for their latest towering five track bruising. Merging stoner and doom metal with hard rock and classic metal, plus plenty more essences, Groan has never been lightweight in crafting rapacious provocation but it is fair to say that their new release has an extra growl to its rampage which ignites even further hunger for the band’s incendiary sound.
2010 saw Groan’s debut album The Sleeping Wizard uncaged and it had little difficulty in garnering eager responses and acclaim from fans and media alike. Equally drawing hungry responses for their live shows the band next recorded a split EP with Finnish band Vinnum Sabatum in 2011, it another record swamped by critical plaudits as was second album The Divine Right of Kings which was unleashed in October of last year. Now with a new line-up seeing band founders vocalist Mazzereth and bassist Leigh Jones joined by guitarists Mike Pilat (ex-Ocean Collective) and James Beedham, as well as drummer Zel Kaute (ex- Pettybone, Vodun), Groan thrust forward the Ride The Snake EP to attack and ravage the senses, something the Superhot Records released record does with riveting exhaustive ease.
Women Of Doom opens up the torrent of sound; ridiculously gripping acidic grooves winding their way around the chugging throaty bass prowl and slugging rhythms, all immediately capturing attention before moving on to the imagination as their persistence seduces with every chord. The great slightly rasping vocals of Mazzereth almost scold the ear, his delivery a squalling passion which matches the heat of the song’s energy and the melodic causticity coating every note. From the lumbering yet energetic start the track lifts its heavy metal knees into an eager romp, entwining both lilts across the remainder of its magnetic heavyweight bulk.
The impressive start is soon left in the wake of Drug Lord, the track a massive peak upon the release. Group shouts triggers the entrance of the track, their call enticing predatory riffs and barracking rhythms to bring their intensive pressure and air to the already tempting bait. There is always a swagger to the band’s creativity and songs, the second on the EP employing one of their most contagious yet, the song swinging with muscular hips whilst sonic endeavour and anthem bred vocals seduce the listener further. It is a delicious riot of dirty rock ‘n’ roll soaked in raucous blues and stoner toxicity, a song hard not to just have just one more rampage with before moving on.
Both Slice of That Vibe and Blessed Is My Blade feed on the black ‘n’ blue emerging upon the senses caused through their predecessors with individual but mutual creative rabidity. The first fuses a punk ‘n’ roll essence reminding of Fuckshovel to a Maiden kissed metallic predation. It does not quite find the same submissive rapture as the first two tracks but with guitar invention which has lips licked furiously it is still a formidable and irresistible blaze soon matched by its successor. The second of the two hits a classic/hard rock vein to exploit, rhythms taking chunks out of the senses whilst the guitars send sonic spirals across their bows with enterprise and seductive skill. Infusing additional haunted temptation and a breath stealing chugging charge as well as a bordering speed metal infection, the track is an absorbing stoner rock hybrid of the highest order.
The eight minute plus stroll of Citadel of Chaos brings the EP to a close. It offers a reserved gait which increases pace and intensity as it expands and an insatiable seduction within its expressive and sonically scenic path. Though the earlier tracks still take top honours the closer shows everything you need to know about Groan to place them on the frontline of British stoner and riff driven metal. With the likes of Desert Storm, Ten Foot Wizard, and XII Boar to name just three of the great imposing current and emerging bands, the UK scene has the staggering armoury to take on the heavyweights of the world with Groan again proving they are driving the frontline.
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