Thursday, 10 January 2013

Review: Grooving In Green - 'Stranglehold'


If there is one thing that Grooving In Green do well... it's groove. The band's bass driven gothic rock sound  has been tightly honed on the road by the Children on Stun and Solemn Novena alumni since 2008. The end result of which is their sophomore album 'Stranglehold', which has a lot to live up to seeing as their début 'Post Traumatic Stress' made it onto so many “Best of...” lists in 2010.

As the opening instrumental 'Breathless' starts, it is immediately evident that there is no need to worry. 'Stranglehold' is a wholly different beast though, and differs from its predecessor significantly in it's upbeat energy and heavier rocking elements that channel the heydays of The Cult, The Sisters Of Mercy and The Mission to great effect. Songs like 'Stranglehold', 'Die Alone' and 'King Mediocre' are great examples of this formula. While 'Breathless', 'Gain Ground' and 'Even The Light' provide the more playful side of the bands sound.
While the album doesn't particularly delve into any complex areas, opting instead for an “easy to replicate live” approach, General Megatron Bison compensates by finding room to diversify his vocal performance in several places to keep things interesting.

The album's production, courtesy of Steve Carey (the Eden House), has a fresh and modern sound which gives the band's nostalgic 80s and 90s influenced sound a more contemporary veneer. It's a combination that works very well seeing as the band are not really setting out to reinvent the wheel, but rather stamp their name all over it.

There is no pretension to this album. The band have crafted a fine example of traditional gothic rock that will stand up well against their already tried and tested back catalogue. What will be interesting to see though, is how the duo of Finnemore and Bison progress toward the next album after the departure of Manning in December. Time will tell, but right now 'Stranglehold' holds its own.

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