Saturday 3 June 2017

Half Gramme Of Soma - Groove Is Black (Album Review)

Release date: May 27th 2017. Label: Fuzznik Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Groove Is Black – Tracklisting

1.Gloomy Eggplant 06:40
2.Mega Rollo Booster 03:14
3.Red Kiss 04:01
4.Groove is Black 07:13
5.Jerk 04:48
6.Doofie 03:32
7.No Man's God 07:02
8.Drowned 06:31

Band Members:



Greek Psych Stoners - Half Gramme Of Soma (HGOS) return with their heavy and far out trippy album - Groove Is Black. This is my first time listening to HGOS and I'm mightily impressed and their take on Psychedelic Stoner Rock which has quite a progressive feel. Elements of classic desert rock are merged with leaner stoner rock sounds.

Opening track - Gloomy Eggplant - has a classic Kyuss sound but with more bombastic vocals that wouldn't feel out of place from a classic heavy metal band. Anyway, this track is pulsating song with moments of heavy pounding Desert/Stoner Metal sounds with flashes of prog rock being played at different moments on the song. HGOS prove their worth with song alone on the album and it perfectly sets the tone and atmosphere for the rest of the album. HGOS have a cool sense of humour especially where the song titles are concerned showing they don't take themselves too seriously and are more than happy in playing superb stoner riffs.

Second track - Mega Rollo Booster - is the band in full CLUTCH mode but still playing their own distinctive blend of high voltage Stoner Rock. The vocals from Motor later have echoes of James Hetfield at times especially with the "YEAH" moments that he shouts from time to time. The music veers into Blues Rock style riffage and it allows the band to expand their sound yet again.

Third track - Red Kiss - is another loud round of Desert/Stoner Rock with the band fully exploring their hard rock groove to perfection. Vocals once again are handled superbly well with spiky lyrics to match. The band creates a more boisterous atmosphere on this song and it allows their music to flow more easily.

The band becomes more serious on the excellent fourth track with Groove Is Black being a more sombre and gloomier affair. The stoner riffs are still there but the mood is more definitely doom orientated. Desert Rock vibes soon appear with the band playing a more stripped back sound. This is perhaps the standout track on the album as it allows HGOS to show off their musical talents. Vocals from Motor later appear half-way through and I thought this would disturb the flow of the entire song. As I was expecting an instrumental song but Motor's vocals add a more exciting feel to the proceedings.

Four songs in and four songs to go. This is where I have a minor complaint. I wish Half Gramme Of Soma experimented with their sound more on the later stages of the album. I would have liked to hear more variety on some of the other songs on the album. Though they're all hugely enjoyable tracks to fully enjoy especially with No Man's God and Drowned.

These two tracks are the other standout tracks on the album. Both songs containing enough Stoner Rock passion to power a legendary desert generator party. The production on the album is superb from start to finish with the album having a loud and crystal clear sound. Groove Is Black is a truly exciting and must have album to own for all Stoner Rock/Metal fans currently out there.

Words by Steve Howe