They Say :- At the tail end of 2009, an eighteen year old Riff Wizard wrote and recorded a whole heap of demos. Through the power of the internet, he enlisted Mazzereth (previously of Battlewitch and Trebuchet) to add some MIGHTY vocals. With the additions of Thor’s Hammer and the Forest‐ Dwelling Fuzz Creature on drums and bass respectively, this solo project soon became a fully‐ fledged band. With each member recording their parts separately without ever meeting each other, Groan’s debut album, “The Sleeping Wizard” was released on Doomanoid Records in October 2010 to overwhelming critical praise.
Despite being spread across the country, Groan’s chemistry shines through on record as much as it does on stage. Unlike other doom bands who are glued to the spot on stage, Groan invite you to bring your dancing shoes to live gigs and leave any notions of taking yourself seriously at home.
We Say :- Right can I just start with clarifying the musicians in Groan, in case you missed them…
Mazzereth ‐ Vocals, The Forest‐Dwelling Fuzz Creature ‐ Bass, Thor’s Hammer – Drums, The Riff Wizard – Guitar
Now either they had parents with some sense of humour, or those are not their real names….
Groan are an example of how the internet is bringing like minded musicians together, in fact the band members had never met until after the album was recorded. Of themselves the band say “We play in an un-ashamed Sabbath style” which automatically wipes out the first paragraph of this review.
They sound like classic Sabbath you see.
And that’s the whole idea. There are any number of unoriginal covers bands harking back 70s Birmingham but Groan instead write original songs that, erm, hark back to 70s Birmingham. And they do it extremely well with massive doom laden heavy riffs and just the right amount of not-taking-themselves-entirely-seriously-ness.
Track titles such as Sleeping Wizard and Psychedelic Demons give you a pretty good of what you can expect, and special mention has to go to Witchy Woman*, I bet Ozzy wishes he’d thought of that one.
But the thing about this album it that it is just so damn well done. Considering that the band never met when they were recording their respective parts there is a real analogue live in the studio feel here that suits the music to perfection. The heavy stoner vibe, the crushing heaviness, the massive overall atmosphere of doom, all here and all honed to near perfection.
It’s also worth noting that , to Groan’s credit, although the you-know-who influence is there smashing you in the face there aren’t many places where you think “oh, they have directly lifted that from such and such” which is a neat trick.
The Sleeping Wizard is one of the best examples of this stoner doom metal I have heard in ages. Groan haven’t tried too hard to update the classic sound, nor have they just blindly rehashed it, and the end result is quite simply outstanding.
*OK, OK, I now know that’s also the title of an Eagles song too.