We like Groan quite a lot here at Pigeon Towers. There’s nothing not to like, really—they play big, dense, swinging heavy metal like what they used to make in the Midlands some 35 years ago, they can do it live, and everything they’ve put out on round plastic objects so far has been top-class. Their new EP, Ride The Snake, pretty much carries on from where the second album (The Divine Right Of Kings, which was ace) left off, except with a couple of lineup shuffles and a fair bit more focus.
Chris West moves from drums to rhythm guitar, ex-The Ocean bass-dude Mike Pilat takes over lead guitar duties, and Zel Kaute (ex-Pettybone, also of Vodun) fills the throne from where West used to dictate the tempo. It’s changed their sound slightly, but not in any kind of bad way – the extra flexibility in the stringed department makes more room in the songs for Mazzereth to really stretch his vocals, whilst Kaute’s concise, hefty, yet never less than groovy batterings drive the arrangements firmly home.
There’s a lot more ‘rock’ about Groan this time out, and a bit less of the ‘stoner’. Even the last track’s eight-plus minutes are structured in a way that never meanders too far from the headbanging, bottom-wiggling point of Groan Mk II—no less exploratory, just way more direct and better for it. They’ve played out a fair bit with this lineup at this point, and it really shows in the unforced, loose-limbed strut and shimmy they exhibit all over the likes of Drug Lord and Slice Of That Vibe. Top banana.
Can we get a full album of this please? Thanks in advance, nice gents and lady.
Score: yes, they probably do.