Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Grotto - Lantern Of Gius (Album Review)

Release date: October 18th 2019. Label: Stickman Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl 

Lantern Of Gius – Tracklisting 

1. Lantern of Gius
2. The 12th Vigil


Marvin Dinneweth - guitar
Jeroen Moerman - bass guitar
Arno Tucker Cottyn - drums 


Belgium's Grotto have been pretty busy during their relatively short career. One EP and three full-lengths since the EP debut in 2015 is good working but I have to admit not knowing about them until their new album, 'Lantern Of Gius', hit the streets in October 2019. Being late to the party doesn't matter since I'm all game because the instrumental take on stoner and heavy psych these three gentlemen purveys is pretty bad-ass, to say the least.

I am a proponent of instrumental music, something which has grown quite a lot for me the last few years. However, there is a fine, very thin line between genius and complete catastrophe when you have to rely on your playing alone to create a storyline, or paint the images you want to channel. When done right though, the way Grotto does it, the music absolutely wonderful and there's no limit to what can be done!

Since I haven't listened to any of Grotto's previous recordings, I can only speculate on the progress they've made through the years. Regardless, putting "only" two songs on your new album, with both clocking in at over 17 minutes each, is brave no matter who you are. But this is where Grotto's main strengths shines really bright. They know what they can do, they know how to do it and most importantly, they are boundless and unshackled which gives their music so much freedom and air to breathe. All throughout opener, and title track, Lantern Of Gius', the rhythm section of Jeroen Moerman and Arno Tucker Cottyn, bass guitar and drums respectively, are the heartbeat. No matter what avenues guitarist Marvin Dinneweth walks, no matter what adventures he takes off on, they keep the pulse steady which allows me, as a listener, to enter a state of equilibrium and meditation. Add the wonderful images Marvin creates to the equation and you have the best soul cleansing, cathartic tool you could ever find.

'The 12th Vigil' drop the tempo a little bit at first before upping the ante somewhat, only to weave back and forth in pace. This gives the perfect flow to the song, as well as being the conductor leading me out of the cleansing and rebirth of myself. Absolutely wonderful! In the end, the two songs, 34 minutes and 9 seconds of instrumental magic and beauty, are the best conduit imaginable for either simple enjoying great music or for taking a journey through the mind and clear out negativity and recharge yourself in the process.

I absolutely love it when a, to me, unknown band comes my way who completely floors me. And that's definitely the case with Grotto. To be perfectly honest, I was about to discard them after the first spin but since I wasn't paying proper attention that time, a second spin beckoned. And I am so thankful because that second time 'Lantern Of Gius' jumped out and stuck its claws in my brain revealing an album of fantastic quality. So, dear readers, check these three gentlemen out because their band is something else, something truly amazing.

Words by 
Håkan Nyman

Thanks to Nick at Stickman Records for the promo. Lantern Of Gius is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl via Stickman Records.


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