Groan – The Sleeping Wizard   2 comments

Warning, Warning, Warning there is a new fuzzed out bunch of Stoner Metal warriors from the UK (Where Else!) ready to knock you in the dirt with pure 70’s inspired riffarama and they are called Groan, not to be confused with the doomish, prog-hippies from Poland that are also called Groan. This band only came to my attention a few months ago and have already became my new Retro-Rock gods for 2010, this album titled “The Sleeping Wizard” is packed to the brim with classic, warm organic sounds that are like they have been stuck in a time capsule since 1971 and finally they have been released. Amazingly this band started out as a one-man project of The Riff Wizard (Yes, That Is What He Calls Himself) and from what I can tell, the songs were so good they deserved an full line-up to deliver the sonic-goods so he enlisted the help of Mazzereth (Battlewitch, Trebuchet, Ratz Ass) to take the vocal role. Groan was made complete with the addition of Thorr’s Hammer on drums and The Forest-Dwelling Fuzz Creature on bass (Great Names Guys). Not only is this musically straight out of 1971 but the production is also pure vintage 71′ with tones coming close to Sabbath in an “Master Of Reality” kind of vibe.

There is nothing techincal about this album and a lame, tedious track by track analysis is not needed here, its a album made for Stoner Metal/Rock purists, therefore its not awash with flashy solos or pretentious musical themes, this is what all “Stoner Rock” is meant to be, kick ass riffing with infectious melodies and majestic, bluesy vocals. Songs like “Deadly Omens” and “Sleeping Wizard” are literally over-flowing with such majestic riffy goodness that I am almost lost for words on how exciting this disc really is. The band is influenced by the usual 70’s Metal and Proto-Metal legends; Sabbath, Blue Cheer but also they have a very slight Prog-Rock edge which is comes across in small but crucial passages within some tracks. Some majestic passages reek of an Rainbow, Deep Purple kind of quality and the vocals of Mazzereth reinforce that as his voice is total class all the way. The vocals soar and wail with a bluesy, beautifully executed timbre. Anybody that has ever read about the Psycho-acoustic experiments that were conducted in the 1960’s would know what I am talking about here. Mazzereth’s vocals are an rare treat for any genre of rock music but even rarer for a genre so painfully limited as so called “Stoner Rock”. Groan are actually beyond that “tag” and shouldn’t be lumped in with most of the other bands with that unfortunate musical label. 

Groan are not all about 70’s Hard Rock worship, however, this album also has its fair share of Cathedral level heaviness and pounding, plodding sludginess a la Sleep. Thankfully they keep all these elements in limited portions and use them just at the right times providing every song with unlimited hooks. While the lyrics contain an certain level of “cheese”, it is delivered in such a flawless manner, the cheese factor seems perfect and a required ingredient, after-all look at how many classic 70’s rock albums sound cheesy now but you still love them, right? Groan’s “The Sleeping Wizard” is one of those albums, a album you get completely lost in, a album you can turn up and completely forget about the entire world for the duration of the album and that is exactly what rock music was intended to do in the first place, pure escapism. The whole album is killer but “Witchy Woman”, “Deadly Omens”, “Ancient Space (Master Of Time)” are immediate “grab you by the balls” classics and if the riff in the title track doesn’t have you rolling on the floor in ecstasy, then dig your grave NOW because something is seriously wrong with you. If there is something wrong with this, it is its too short, this album deserves to play forever but its so infectious, the time flies spinning this disc.

If I haven’t sold you this album already, here is another great selling point I must stress about “The Sleeping Wizard” and that is the remarkable way its played. Everything seems live and effortless like it comes as second nature to these gentlemen, nothing sounds forced or studio manipulated unlike some other recent recordings from other 70’s inspired bands of late. Another thing I will stress is this isn’t a album for Stoner Rock fans alone, it will appeal to all “Rock Fans” but especially those who adore catchy Hard Rock with an sense of class and perfectionism. The guitar sound is heavy without being over-driven, the bass is beefy but without being low so you can only feel it, this bass you feel but you can also hear every note hit. The drumming is excellent, making every pounding hit count and then I come back to the magical vocals which easily sit alongside any famous Hard Rock vocalist you care to mention. Yes, I love this band so I urge you to buy this album NOW. Out on Doomanoid Records…..10/10
Groan Myspace
Doomanoid Records

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Posted October 13, 2010 by doommantia in Groan

2 responses to “Groan – The Sleeping Wizard

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  1. Thanks for the awesome review.

    I'd just like to point out that the songs on that YouTube clip are demo versions of the album songs!

  2. One word: magic …

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