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 Post subject: Groan / Vinum Sabbatum Split EP
PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:29 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:04 pm
Posts: 64
Location: Numazu-Shi, Japan

So, today I’m looking at a rather neat little split between the exceptional UK doom rockers Groan and those 70s wizards Vinum Sabbatum, a band whose name I have to think really hard when I spell it. Double b or double t, single or double n, I never get it right the first time. I am actually very fond of splits, I find them interesting little flashes of what a band can do and what they won’t do on a full length. I’m not saying splits motivate bands to go all weird, but it is definitely a chance for them to do something different, which usually leads to intriguing results. And oh is this little split interesting.

The immediate impression of the split is the Ralph Walters cover artwork which to me is equal part terrifying and engrossing. Grotesque naked and spacemen creatures handing over a tiny brain whilst a huge twisting winged creepy-crawly looks on, with this ritual performed under baroque archways and space itself, all with vibrant edible colour. It is fantastic, a proper job well done. And a special note on the actual script of the band names in each corner which is delicious in gold and in unusual yet legible form.

This split marks the end of the Groan lineup as we know it, as both drummer and vocalist quit the band back in June, which is definitely a shame as both were positives of the band, but as the bassist Leigh Jones informs in the press release, they left on uncomfortable terms on their ends, so probably best they left. Anyway, this split resumes where Groan left off on their debut, and that was being awesome. Whilst one band marks the end of an era, another looks to the start of a new one as Vinum Sabbatum are hoping to be releasing their debut record before the end of the year, and if you hear this neat split you’ll definitely be looking forward to that one.

I don’t really go for describing each and every song on a release, I take a more ‘go and listen to the record and you’ll find out’ approach. However, here are my highlights from each band present.

The highlight of the Groan half of the split is the longer track ‘Throne of Weed’, overall Groan benefit from a slightly more analogue sounding production on this split than they had on their 2010 debut ‘The Sleeping Wizard’, it makes the riffage a tad more coarser, more, uh, rock and roll (I’m going to start judging things by how rock and roll they are from now on). There is a huge low end present on this catchier of the two tracks put forward by Groan, it holds everything together smoothly, and I personally love more grandiose bass, the bigger the better. As I said before, the vocals and drumming were positives for Groan, seen very well on ‘Throne of Weed’, where the vocals shimmer and the vibrant drumming are a real asset, and I have high hopes for Groan so they absolutely must find good replacements.

My highlight of the Vinum Sabbatum half is the most excellent ‘Sinister Sister’ longer than both Groan tracks but not the longest by far, that’s the closing ten minute acoustic balladry heavy epic ‘Disillusioned Pilgrims’ also by VS but a track I felt dragged on a little but still holds some decent substance. What I love is that VS taps my love of some fucking great psych rock of the 70s, they have a fantastic sound, evoking other modern 70s influenced pysch bands like Asteroid but with the hammond right out front. Again there is this ever popular analogue sounding production which doesn’t hamper the vocals which soar over the swagger of the riffage that wouldn’t look out of place on a Sir Lord Baltimore or a Captain Beyond record. ‘Sinister Sister’ is a superb, swaggering, riffing, 70s-worshipping tune which evokes everything that you want in a psych rock record. Remember, they’ll have their debut out by the end of the year so keep an eye out.

And can I just take a moment to say, bloody hell, two great doom bands that sit snugly in the stoner scene that doesn’t come from bloody Sweden! I very happy that Groan are from the UK, and must query as to why I have yet to see them at Bloodstock yet.

This is a very nifty split, great tracks from either band and totally worth your time.

The release date for this on the 26th September 2011.

Groan – Cosmic Boogie [2:47]
Groan – Throne of Weed [3:36]
Vinum Sabbatum – Sinister Sister [4:43]
Vinum Sabbatum – Disillusioned Pilgrims [10:45]

[First posted here:]


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