Groan - The Sleeping Wizard

Every so often a band will come out of absolutely nowhere and deliver an album that will knock you on your ass, and here we've got a prime example. Considering the fact that they've only been around for about a year, Groan's debut album could easily fool the casual listener into thinking the band has lay dormant for the past thirty or forty years in a smokey, hazed void of time. This record sounds like it was ripped straight out of 1971 - which frankly, for a stoner rock album, is a very good thing.

I'm going to just flat out state the fact that "The Sleeping Wizard" is what scientists call 'fucking amazing'. This album is everything that stoner rock - nay, rock in general - should be, with everything practically forcing itself right to your core and persuading you to embrace that fuzzy warm feeling it brings. Lyrics and titles are your typical cheesy-but-awesome affairs - wizards, time, psychedelic stuff, you get the picture - but Mazz's vocal delivery will make even the most hardened cynics collapse into a spaced out heap, with his smokey wails and brilliant vocal hooks lingering in the back of your head long after you've finished listening to the album. The production is, as mentioned, straight from 1971 with a big "Master of Reality" vibe to it... and since that's possibly my favourite stoner rock album of all time, to hear a young modern band replicate such production so well makes me squeal like a child on christmas day. COmplete with meaty bass and all. Fans of Black Sabbath, Cathedral and Sleep will have an absolute field day with Groan, not just for the great production, titles, lyrics, vocals, but above all for the riffs.

The 'Riff Wizard' lives up to his moniker better than anyone you can possibly name as some of the riffs on display here are nothing short or incredible - just listen to 'Deadly Omens', 'Witchy Woman' or the astonishing title track (which by the way, is the greatest song on the CD by a long way based on the riff alone) and you'll lose yourself in the music before you know it. Remember when bands used to make you do that? Can you remember the last time you completely zoned out and lost yourself in a new release? Didn't think so. And on top of all of this, the songs all sound remarkably unforced as if they were just meant to be that way - all too often you come across a band who fares well, but ultimately sound like they're trying too hard. Not these guys, everything flows as smooth as can be and doesn't drag itself out to the point of repetition at any point.

It's very rare that I praise a new release so much, especially when it comes to stoner rock - so to hear a new band writing music of such high quality has made me giddy with joy to say the least. Of course, if you're one of these bizarre people who dislike Black Sabbath or stoner rock in general then you may want to sample their music before you buy it, but even in cases such as those I really believe that you'll find something to enjoy here. I for one am expecting great things from Groan in the future, if this is their first effort then just imagine what's to come. Buy "The Sleeping Wizard" as soon as you can, spark up a joint and enjoy the swirling mass of psychedelic riffery.

1. Ride Of The Antichrist
2. Witchy Woman
3. Psychedelic Demons
4. Deadly Omens
5. The Martyr King
6. Sleeping Wizard
7. Ancient Space (Master Of Time)

Doomanoid Records
Reviewer: Dave Ingram Jr.
Oct 7, 2010

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