Groan: Highrospliffics EP Coming March 23

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

groan

What does a Witchfinder General Finder find? He finds Witchfinders General. Or maybe he finds the band Witchfinder General, I don’t know. I haven’t heard the song yet. Maybe London’s Groan — who’ll release their new EP, Highrospliffics, as a free download through Bandcamp on March 23 — are working on a “Whatever Happened to Celtic Frost?” kind of thing. Or maybe I’m overthinking it. I don’t know, but it’ll be fun to find out. With Groan, the safer bet is always that shenanigans will ensue.

Highrospliffics will be the first new Groan release since 2013’s Ride the Snake EP (review here) offered vibe by the slice. Details follow from the PR wire, including the tracklisting, which, if you were wondering what the hell I was talking about in the paragraph above, should have some answers:

groan-highrospliffics

GROAN: Cheeky English Doom ‘N’ Rollers Announce New EP, Highrospliffics, Out Via FREE Download March 23

The cheekiest of party-doom bands, London’s GROAN, have confirmed themselves as the number one party-stoner band in the UK and returned with a new EP, Highrospliffics (recorded by Sam Thredder of Slabdragger), which will be available via FREE digital download on March 23 via the group’s Bandcamp.

TRACK LISTING:
1. Run Out Of Fucks
2. Witchfinder General Finder
3. March Of The Druids
4. Buried In Leather

If you’re a stranger to the Spinal Tap-esque history of Groan, here it is: Groan were formed in 2010 and put a few demos online that rapidly caught the stoner/doom scene’s attention. They released their first album, The Sleeping Wizard, on Doomanoid Records that year. The band soon earned a reputation as an exciting, entertaining and completely ridiculous force live, with charismatic (and generally barefoot) lead singer Mazzereth acting as ringmaster general at gigs. Confused and amused fans soon grew to know this group as a party-doom band that is high and giggling, not a stoner rock band that is tuned-out and derivative.

In the nine months after the album was released, the band played live all over the country, smoked the GDP of a small African nation, wrote off a brand new Ferrari California, decorated their rehearsal room with gifts from hookers, and even split up and re-formed in a day. After a split EP with Finnish doomers Vinum Sabbatum in 2011, Groan‘s second album was released in 2012 by Dutch label Soulseller Records, The Divine Right of Kings, to great critical acclaim.

With new members Zel Kaute (Vodun, ex-Pettybone) and Mike Pilat (ex-Ocean Collective) joining on drums and guitar respectively, the band took a heavy metal sidestep with their five track EP, Ride the Snake, in late 2013. With yet another new lineup in 2014, Groan went back into the studio with founder members Mazzereth (vocals) and Leigh Jones (bass) joined by long-time drummer Zel Kaute and new guitarist Lindsay Hamilton. Across their five releases, Groan have proven their ability to write songs that marry catchy hooks with heavy riffs and plan to dominate 2015 with the release of Highrospliffics and the destruction of many live music venues.

GROAN IS:
Mazzereth – Vocals
Leigh Jones – Bass
Lindsay Hamilton – Guitar
Zel Kaute – Drums

LINKS:
facebook.com/groanuk
twitter.com/GroanRock
groan.bandcamp.com
superhotrecords.bandcamp.com

Groan, “Slice of that Vibe” official video

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Groan Slice and Dice in New Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 7th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The heat is hot. Don’t look for it to make sense, and don’t look for the live footage in Groan‘s new video to necessarily be in sync with the song. I guess it’s more about the vibe, which, incidentally, comes by the slice. Like I said: Don’t look for it to make sense.

They may have vibe by the slice, but they’ve got charm in bulk, and even when he’s got it wagging at the crowd, Groan vocalist Mazzereth‘s tongue still seems somehow to be in-cheek, so yeah, I’ll post another Groan video. I’ve yet to regret doing so, and as this one brings hints of a future European tour for Spring 2014 and features one of the catchiest tracks on their late-2013 EP, Ride the Snake (review here), alongside footage snagged while on the road supporting that EP, the good time is infectious.

Granted, I’m a pretty easy sell on Groan by now, but it’s good to know their mischief making will continue into 2014. What it might bring in terms of their sound, I don’t really know, but no matter where they’re headed, they always seem to be enjoying the crap out of it, which I guess is the whole point.

So have fun:

Groan, “Slice of that Vibe” official video

The UK’s premiere heavy metal boogie band Groan certainly pull all the stops when it comes to making hilarious videos and just about everything else. “Slice Of That Vibe,” the second video from Ride The Snake (streaming here), is no exception. Taken from live footage of their recent UK tour in support of the release of the EP, this video gives you a taste for the raucous, uninhibited, glam-stoner party that is a Groan show and the antics that go on behind the scenes.

Additionally, Groan are currently working on booking a spring 2014 European tour.

Groan on Thee Facebooks

Superhot Records

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The Obelisk Presents: The Top 20 EPs, Demos and Singles of 2013

Posted in Features on January 2nd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ve been trying to get this one on the page for a couple weeks now — really since last year if you want to go back that far — and I finally just decided to do it. Granted, it’s already 2014, but I’m pretty used to being behind the times, so I hope you’ll indulge me on this one.

The thing is, of course we already did the Top 20 Albums of 2013, but that leaves an awful lot out in terms of quality shorter releases. Demos, singles, EPs, splits — whatever it might be — there’s a lot more to the story of a year in music than who’s putting out what full-length. That might be true now more than ever, with digital releases and artists having the ability to more or less give a song-by-song feed of new material should they so choose. Since this is the first time I’ve done this list, I’ve kept the presentation pretty basic, but there’s a lot to dig into here anyway in terms of the quality of the music and what people were able to accomplish in, in some cases, just one or two tracks.

My basis for judgment here is basically the same as with the full-albums list, and by that I mean how much I listened to something played a huge role, and it’s not just how important I think an EP or a split or a demo was that got it included on this list — though of course that stuff matters as well. Like spelling, repeat listens count. And it goes without saying these are my picks and have nothing to do with the Readers Poll, the results of which are here.

Okay, let’s do this:

The Top 20 Short Releases of 2013

1. The Machine/Sungrazer, Split
2. Dozer, Vultures
3. Mars Red Sky, Be My Guide
4. Black Thai, Seasons of Might
5. Wo Fat/Egypt, Cyclopean Riffs Split 12″
6. Young Hunter, Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain
7. Shroud Eater, Dead Ends
8. Steak, Corned Beef Colossus
9. Geezer, Gage
10. The Golden Grass, One More Time b/w Tornado 7″
11. Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight, Underground
12. King Buffalo, Demo
13. Groan, Ride the Snake
14. Crypt Sermon, Demo MMXIII
15. Stubb, Under a Spell b/w Bullets Rain 7″
16. Salem’s Pot, Watch Me Kill You Tape
17. Undersmile/Coma Wall, Wood and Wire Split
18. Second Grave, Antithesis
19. Sinister Haze, Demo
20. Olde Growth, Owl

Honorable mention has to go to the Fatso Jetson/Yawning Man split, C.O.C.‘s Megalodon EP, which was right on but which I didn’t really hear enough to include. The Gates of Slumber‘s Stormcrow as well.

Just a couple notes: In the case of Olde Growth, putting them last was actually more about not being sure when the official release date of Owl was than anything else. I actually listened to that quite a bit, and “Tears of Blood” remains my favorite work of the duo’s to date. In terms of demos, it was a good year for doom debuts, with Crypt Sermon and Sinister Haze both showing some malevolent classicism, and King Buffalo‘s demo grew on me almost immediately upon hearing it and right away made me look forward to whatever might come next from them.

I was a little hesitant to put a split in the number one spot, but The Machine‘s riff for “Awe” alone made it necessary. I’ve kept this disc on my person for almost the entire year and continue to have no regrets in doing so. For Dozer, yeah, it was a collection of older material, but I still enjoyed the crap out of it. Both Mars Red Sky and Black Thai signaled considerable creative growth in four-song EPs, and the Wo Fat and Egypt split more than lived up to its mission. The riff lives in bands like that, and as we get further into stylistic nuance and subgenre development, it’s those groups who are holding on to the Heavy.

Young Hunter are one of the most promising bands I’ve heard in the last three years. Flat out. Killer release. Ditto that in a much different context for Shroud Eater, whose take on heavy only got more sinister and more effective with Dead Ends. Steak emerge as tops among the five British bands — a quarter of the list! — here. Their Corned Beef Colossus also had the best title I heard all year, and though Trippy Wicked, Groan, Stubb, and Undersmile/Coma Wall (the latter earning bonus points for putting out a split with themselves) all thrilled, Steak‘s potential got them that spot. Time for a full-length, guys.

Not to leave out New York — though the geographical alignment is a coincidence — Geezer‘s Gage tapped into a jammier feel that I thought suited the band remarkably well, and The Golden Grass‘ debut single offered one of the most charming irony-free good times I’ve heard in a long while. The Salem’s Pot cassette was one of my most-listened-to tapes this year, last mentioned but not at all least, Second Grave‘s Antithesis probably would’ve clocked in higher if I’d had more time with it, but was definitely one I wanted to put in here anyway.

As I said, a lot of really astounding shorter outings, and worthy of attention in their own right. If I missed anything, I hope you’ll let me know in the comments.

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Groan, Ride the Snake EP: By the Slice

Posted in Reviews on December 19th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

UK reefer metallers Groan don’t leave much room for ambivalence. With their new Superhot Records EP, Ride the Snake, as with their 2012 full-length, The Divine Right of Kings (review here), they demand declaration either of allegiance or antipathy over the course of five tracks, and if you haven’t climbed on board their debauched, medieval-themed fancy dress party boat yet, then chances are the chicanery on Ride the Snake cuts like “Women of Doom” and “Slice of that Vibe” isn’t going to win you over to their side. And if not, something tells me vocalist Andreas “Mazzereth” Maslen, bassist Leigh Jones, guitarists Mike Pilat and Jimmy Beedham and drummer Zel Kaute would keep doing what they’re doing anyway, since nothing seems to have slowed them down up to this point with tongue-in-cheek rockstar shenanigans, including a slew of lineup changes around Maslen and Jones, who are the sole founding members remaining from Groan‘s 2010 debut, The Sleeping Wizard (review here). That a band would shift members in their earlier going isn’t such a surprise — it happens more often than not — but Groan seem to have a steady turnover rate of people in and out on drums and guitar. Both Kaute and Beedham came in as replacements for Chris West, who first switched from drums to guitar and then left altogether — he serves as engineer on Ride the Snake, so take “altogether” for what it’s worth — and Pilat is also a recent-enough addition to not have played on The Divine Right of Kings. If Groan‘s intent with these songs was to feel out the dynamic of their new lineup (I’m not sure if Beedham was a member yet when they recorded, though it’s possible), then at very least they still sound like Groan. From the second Maslen opens his mouth on opener “Women of Doom” and tops the stoner groove with his higher-register bark, you would not likely mistake them for anyone else. No matter how you want to look at it, that works in their favor.

Maslen‘s seemingly indomitable persona is a big part of what gives Groan their identity at this point, and he’s front and center on Ride the Snake, a crotchal thrust timed to the riff-led “Women of Doom,” his voice high in a spacious mix. Though he makes an unlikely champion for the feminist cause in underground metal, and the chorus “Make room for the women of doom/Take heed or they’ll blow out your mind/Make room for the women of doom/Their beauty will smack you blind” a likewise unlikely anthem, it’s a catchy chorus, and one of several on the EP, as “Drug Lord” and “Slice of that Vibe” share a similar mindset, and even “Blessed is My Blade,” which leans less on its chorus, winds up in a memorable boogie as Pilat‘s leads and Maslen‘s vocals (with backing accompaniment) duke it out at the song’s apex. At times, Groan straddle the line of making you wonder whether or not they’re taking themselves seriously, and though they usually wind up on the “nope” side of that equation, eight-minute closer “Citadel of Chaos” is another such example of their toying with heavy metal grandiosity. Pilat, as a solo player, is a fair match with Maslen‘s over-the-top methods, and while he adds that appeal to “Drug Lord,” “Women of Doom” and “Slice of that Vibe” as well — those three being more verse/chorus in their construction — with “Citadel of Chaos,” it’s as much the guitars as the vocals stepping out front. Should Pilat remain in the band over a longer term, it could be interesting to hear how that dynamic develops over the course of writing for a full-length, but the roots of it are in these songs waiting to be explored, and with Jones and Kaute providing a solid rhythmic drive for that to play out, Groan as they are now could turn into an entirely different band than they were a year ago. Which, you know, they kind of already have.

Read more »

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Groan Release Ride the Snake EP; Touring this Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 10th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

I’ve done a pretty lousy job in keeping the secret that I dig Groan. Though their lineup has seen some consistent shakeup over the last couple years and their sound has gone from fuzzed-out stoner idolatry to classic metal grandiosity, what’s remained at their core is a propensity for unabashed good times. That’s as true as ever on Ride the Snake, their latest EP and the follow-up to last year’s The Divine Right of Kings full-length (review here). I’ll have a review in the next couple weeks, but the EP is out today on Superhot Records and Groan will be supporting it on tour the next couple days (frontman Mazzereth is ready to go as you can see above), so it seemed only fair to mark the occasion, being a fan and all.

The PR wire has it like this:

Groan’s Ride The Snake EP is out now!

UK tour starts tomorrow!

Hope you’re all having a great week. Groan’s EP has officially been released on the Superhot Records Bandcamp page HERE and is available in digital download or CD. You’ll also find UK tour dates listed below.

After an incredible live show at London’s Desertfest 2013, the band returns with an all new lineup: founding members Mazzereth (vocals) and Leigh Jones (bass) are now joined by Mike Pilat (ex-Ocean Collective) and James Beedham on guitar with Zel Kaute (ex-Pettybone, Vodun) smashing the skins. The band self-produced, recorded and mixed a new five track EP named Ride the Snake with former drummer and guitarist Chris West that will be released on December 10th through Superhot Records, with a UK tour to follow that week, too.

UK TOUR DATES:
11th Dec – Manchester – Star & Garter w/ Ovvl, Ten Foot Wizard, Molly Bloom (Facebook Event)
12th Dec – London – The Windmill, Brixton w/ Sons of Merrick, XII Boar, Vodun (Facebook Event)
13th Dec – Birmingham – Scruffy Murphy’s w/ Iron Hearse, Mage (Facebook Event)
14th Dec – Edinburgh – Bannerman’s w/ Bacchus Baracus, Atragon, Isak (Facebook Event)

Links:
http://southerncrosspr.tumblr.com/groan
http:superhotrecords.bandcamp.com
http://groan.bandcamp.com
http://facebook.com/groanuk

Groan, Ride the Snake (2013)

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audiObelisk Transmission 032

Posted in Podcasts on November 27th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Click Here to Download

 

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

If you’re in the States and celebrating Thanksgiving this week, I thought maybe a new podcast would be good to have along for the travel. Maybe you take it with you on the road, or maybe put some headphones on in one of those need-to-get-away moments that invariably crop up over the holidays. I always get very stressed out at this time of year. I’d be lying if putting this together wasn’t a bit of therapy for my own anxiousness, but I also thought that if someone else was in the same boat, they might also appreciate it. Or maybe not and you just want to rock without using it as an escape for deep-rooted psychological issues. That’s cool too.

This one has a lot of good stuff that I’ve come across lately, from the opening Foghound track on through the Clamfight single that was featured here a couple weeks back, and on to the B-side of the single that Ice Dragon released just this weekend, finally rounding out with the closing track from Uzala‘s new album, Tales of Blood and Fire, “Tenement of the Lost,” which was so captivating when I saw them in Providence last month. It’s a wide variety, but it flows well from song to song and I think it’s a good time.

Hopefully you agree. I’m especially happy with how well the last three songs, which make up the bulk of the second hour, came together. My hope is you’ll be too hypnotized by one song to realize when it’s gone into the next. Whether or not that happens, please enjoy.

First Hour:
Foghound, “Dragon Tooth” from Quick, Dirty and High (2013)
Lizzard Wizzard, “Total Handjob Future” from Lizzard Wizzard (2013)
Summoner, “Into the Abyss” from Atlantian (2013)
Groan, “Slice of that Vibe” from Ride the Snake EP (2013)
The Vintage Caravan, “Let Me Be” from Voyage (2013)
Run After To, “Melancholy from Run After To/Gjinn and Djinn (2013 Reissue)
Clamfight, “Bathosphere” from single release (2013)
No Gods No Masters, “Lie to Me” from No Gods No Masters EP (2013)
Horseskull, “Arahari” from 2013 Promo
Gudars Skymning, “Gåtor I Mörkret” from Höj Era Glas (2013)
Ice Dragon, “Queen of the Black Harvest” from Steel Veins b/w Queen of the Black Harvest (2013)
T.G. Olson, “Return from the Brink” from The Bad Lands to Cross (2013)

Second Hour:
EYE, “Lost are the Years” from Second Sight (2013)
Øresund Space Collective, “Black Sabbath Forever in Space” from Live at Loppen 2013.11.19
Selim Lemouchi and His Enemies, “The Ghost of Valentine” from Earth Air Spirit Water Fire (2013)
Uzala, “Tenement of the Lost” from Tales of Blood and Fire (2013)

Total running time: 1:59:03

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 032

 

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Groan Premiere Video for “Women of Doom”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 28th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Whoever you are and whatever you’re doing, chances are Groan are having a better time. The UK-based chicanery rockers are at it again on “Women of Doom,” the lead track from the forthcoming Ride the Snake EP, which is due out Dec. 10 on Superhot Records, pumping out a thick groove and ’80s metal gang shout hook and every bit living up to their stated “67% true doom” ethic. The clip itself follows a long-standing tradition from what’s evolved over the last couple years into a double-guitar five-piece — the photo above is already outdated; guitarist Chris West (who also recorded Ride the Snake) having been recently replaced by Jimmy Beedham — of snagging clips from cult ’70s horror flicks and putting them to songs. Video done.

And while I’m not sure I’ve ever thought of Elizabeth Taylor as a “woman of doom,” I’m no one to question Groan – vocalist Mazzereth, bassist Leigh Jones, guitarists Beedham and Mike Pilat and drummer Zel Kaute – on the subject, since they seem to have a clear idea what they’re going for. I doubt they’ll enter the canon of great feminist texts of our age with the chorus of, “Make room for the women of doom,” but given the context of what the band does, it’s encouraging to hear them continuing to have a good time amid all these Hammer Horror film pieces, for which I’m sure all the proper rights were secured. It must’ve been quite a legal process.

Keep an eye out for more on Groan‘s Ride the Snake EP as we get closer to the Dec. 10 release, but until then, “Women of Doom” gives a decent idea of where the band are headed coming off of their last full-length, The Divine Right of Kings (review here), which saw them depart their earlier, more stonerly fare in favor of the metal-rooted take they’re continuing to develop here.

Enjoy:

Groan, “Women of Doom” official video

Groan on Thee Facebooks

Superhot Records

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Groan to Release Ride the Snake EP on Dec. 10

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 15th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Who knows what kind of chicanery might be in store when UK mischief metallers Groan unveil their new Ride the Snake EP? Well, they probably do. And I guess whoever else has heard it. But still — who knows???

Groan‘s last album, 2012’s The Divine Right of Kings (review here), pushed the band past their stoner rock beginnings and into a we-just-won-the-contest-for-not-taking-ourselves-too-seriously classic metal, enjoying the grandiose pretense in a way both tongue in cheek and intelligently dumb. When I ask who knows what’s to come on Ride the Snake, well, going from the title alone, the attitude seems to be in check, but with more lineup shuffles and an apparent tendency toward impulsiveness, I’m not even going to guess at where these songs might go.

They’ll be touring around the Dec. 10 Superhot Records release. Dates and info follow, courtesy of the PR wire:

English doom ‘n’ rollers GROAN announce new EP, Ride The Snake, out December 10th

The UK’s finest in reefer-based doom metal, the mighty GROAN, are proud to announce that they are releasing their new EP, Ride The Snake, via Superhot Records on December 10th. Much to the delight of each and every 67% TRUE DOOM fan who has awaited fresh thunder-boogie tunes since the critically-acclaimed, ego-inflating party-doom record The Divine Right of Kings of 2012, these new tracks will once again seal Groan’s position as the royalty of all doom ‘n’ roll.

After an incredible live show at London’s Desertfest 2013, the band returns with an all new lineup: founding members Mazzereth (vocals) and Leigh Jones (bass) are now joined by Mike Pilat (ex-Ocean Collective) and James Beedham on guitar with Zel Kaute (ex-Pettybone, Vodun) smashing the skins. The band self-produced, recorded and mixed a new five track EP named Ride the Snake with former drummer and guitarist Chris West that will be released on December 10th through Superhot Records, with a UK tour to follow that week, too.

As this is a highly anticipated EP, the band is available for interviews upon request and the album will be sent out for review soon.

Here are the details, including a video which depicts the deeply serious creation of Ride The Snake:

Ride The Snake Track Listing:

1. Women of Doom
2. Drug Lord
3. Slice of That Vibe
4. Blessed Is My Blade
5. Citadel of Chaos

Groan will also head out on a UK tour following the release of the EP:
November 29th – Hard Rock Hell – Pwllheli, North Wales
December 11th – Manchester – Star & Garter (w/ Ovvl (USA), Ten Foot Wizard)
December 12th – London – The Windmill, Brixton (w/ The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Sons of Merrick)
December 13th – Birmingham – Scruffy Murphy’s (w/ Iron Hearse, Nukebox, +1 TBA)
December 14th – Edinburgh – Bannerman’s (w/ Bacchus Baracus + others TBA)

Groan, Ride the Snake EP Teaser

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