Groan - 2012- The Divine Right of Kings (Review)

Another cool review done by Den.

     Groan's sophomore  album,  the The Divine Right of Kings, is nothing short of  heaviness that we saw on the  band's previous opus. Paying homage to the old-school  grooves of Black Sabbath and  combining them with catchy and downtuned stoner rock tunes, The Divine Right of Kinds delivers almost 40 minutes of infectious riff-fest that you'll be bound to enjoy for a huge number of spins. Following the first opus " The Slepping Wizard" and the split with Vinnum Sabbatum, British doomsters  have made a decent follow up to the previous releases  further proving that they are gaining momentum with each subsequent album. From the first tunes, the riffs start to speak for themselves as the album opener "Weeping Jesus" immediately sets the tone of  doom and booze delivering a bunch of heavy and  groovy riffs which feel like  a good throwback to 70-s. The track is only mere 2.3 minutes in length but it quickly gives a good grasp of what should follow next. Next track, "Sacrificial Virgins" is a riff-worshipping steamroller paving its way with a set of mid-paced infectious grooves. Although the riffage  is repetitive to some extent, it  is heavy and downtuned to ferocious degree immediately evoking the  atmosphere of 70-s Black Sabbath concert with the  stake of the witch smoldering at the center of  the stage. The riffs get more intense towards the end of the song and eventually get  boosted by a piercing guitar solo which dances to the tune of the rhythm till the very  end. But is not until the next  song "Magic Man" when Groan fully show what they are up to. The song starts from the extended preaching from the Groan's frontman  Andreas “Mazzereth” Maslen who stops at nothing to  keep the spirit of rock live. That's what he says :

"Some days the bad, some days unworthy people, unrighteous business and the conventional grind brings you down. But you’re wise — you’re clever — you know how  to deal with this bad situation. I’m talking about reaching for the Sabbath, the DC, the Priest. I’m talking about reaching for the Halen, the Quo, the Creedence. You fight  the world with some tasty Stooges. You make your body move with some Grand Funk, some Foghat. These timeless motherfuckers bring forth the power that enables  you to deal with it, to get off your ass and fight back. Hell, they may even inspire you to form a shitty rock and roll band. Never forget the healing power of rock.  Never forget the crucial truth they bring. Friends, to you, I say this: When in doubt, rock it out."

     As the speech finishes, our ears get exposed to fast-paced assault of old school heaviness which is probably one of  my favorite picks on the entire album. The  song  definitely lives up to the  proceeding speech as  it lays foundation with catchy rock-n-roll riffage although still managing to sustain  sincere appreciation for the heavy  rock and sometimes even delving into doom territory.  With so many stuff consistent within one single track, Groan  does it skillfully and straight to the point which  definitely distinguishes them from a huge number of  modern formations which prefer sticking to the  well-recognized formulas rather  than raising the spirit of their own. 

     Over the course of first three songs,  the listener barely has a chance to take a breath or fully digest the riffage which keeps echoing in a perpetual loop after the  first spin. On this point you will be  countered with a unexplainable endeavor to take the first 3 pieces for the second spin, and even if you  do  you 'll still feel  your craving for  pure old-scholl riffage is completely unfulfilled. Hell yeah, as on this point we  plummet the accelerator pedal and delve deeper into the world of Groan with the " Dissolution" which  unexpectedly starts with a much more doomy tunes apparently drawing  inspiration from  Black Sabbath, Cathedral and many other deities of British doom pantheon. The tempo here is slashed to slow doomy grooves  and the atmosphere is dirgy. The chorus is definitely a highlight of the song as  "Mazzereth"   unleashes amazing vocal performance  pointing that you may never  know where next the band can stop. The chorus is followed by a  background solo which keeps the  pace elevated until  it slows even further with Mazzereth pronouncing  final chants "Our God is Dead" for a couple of times.

     On this positive note  we are ready  for the next nail in our coffin which bears the moniker "Atomic Prophets". Here the band shows its true potential delivering  probably the most mesmerizing and unforgettable song on the entire album. The song is more of stoner rock than doom, and it perfectly lives up to its name concocting  the atmosphere of  scorched  skeletons of once flourishing cities devastated by nuclear Armageddon. Being a huge fan of post apocalyptic setting , "Atomic preachers"  perfectly  accompanied my 5-th play thought of one of the best post-apocalyptic  video games of all time "Fallout: New Vegas"  substituting Black Sabbath's "Electric  Funeral" which  evolves around similar Post-Nuke setting. )) 

     After enjoying a couple of spins in the rusty cd-player found on the radioactive wasteland , "Atomic Preachers" is followed by the "Gods of Fire", which is more catchy  and stonerly than its predecessor. The tracks is pretty straightforward as verses get repeated by a couple of times before shifting to  probably the most  infectious hook  on the entire album : “Gods of fire/Gods of fire/Fill me with desire/Gods of fire” does pretty well what it was intended to do perfectly fitting in the overall metal vibe  of the song.  The next one, " How Black Was our Sabbath" is pure rock-n-roll attack.  Rolling like a 100-ton wagon  which has slipped off the rails, this song is probably  the most violent piece of rock-n-roll on the entire album.  Apparently drawing inspiration from another prominent British act "Orange Goblin", in particular from famous masterpiece "Coup de Grace", the song  will be a perfect tune  to help you recover "consciousness" after  long sleepless night.

     As you were occupied with head banging over the course of the entire song, you barely noticed how the next piece “Let’s Have a Pint at the Crooked Cock"  signals that it  is  just about time you forgot about the pressing matters you may have in the morning and head to the nearest shop to grab some beer and enjoy the rest of the album.  It starts with some pub noise and clanking glass only to evolve into a next  song in the playlist " Black Death". The transition seems almost seemless here as it kicks in with a good dose of stoner riffs and  infectious hooks from the "Mazzereth".

     And finally the title track  "The Divine Right of Kings" comes. Not only it is the longest track on the album, but definitely a respite from its overall pace( excluding Dissolution) as it starts with the dirgy sound of church organ and Gregorian-style chanting. The intro than shifts into the cohesive blend of all possible styles and influences showing the level of perfection that the band has achieved on the second album. The song starts with mid-paced  fuzzy tunes  which are soon  substituted with some spacious and psychedelic parts, with Mazzereth echoing his vocals over the top. The transition n from fuzzy riffs to psychedelic tunes seems almost  seemless, which further proves that this guys know how to adhere to the well-recognized formula but at the same time attain the face of their own. Towards the end, the pace gets more gloomy and dirgy and the song finishes with the echoing wailing of Mezzareth, leaving  the listener in anticipation of another Groan's story.  


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 Den asked me to post his foto to unleash some respekt to the mighty Groan !)

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