Stranglehold Rock, Gothrock Grooving In Green I've heard plenty of odd genre definitions in my time, and probably dreamt up just as many myself. This English three-piece are now responsible for yet another sub-sub-genre being added to my armoury - Groove Goth. As a relatively young collective, having only been formed in 2008 (though consisting of ex-members of Children on Stun and Solemn Novena), it's clear they've done pretty well for themselves, having clocked up some credible live performances and backed it up with a couple of studio albums, the second of which is reviewed here. And it's on a second album that a band's signature sound needs to crystallise if they have any hope of standing out from the vast army of 80s goth rock copyists that fill the lower echelons of WGT line-ups. Certainly the fundamental elements of Grooving In Green's line-up aren't anything noteworthy. Singer, guitarist with a stack of sound-enriching effects, bassist, and a drum machine programmed to provide the aforementioned 'groove'. They've even given 'him' a name - Dr Toxic. Didn't Garden of Delight hit upon this two parts-Nephilim to one-part Sisters combo a couple of decades back? Actually, you could have inserted the name of pretty much any European goth rock band there! But there's something subtlety different going on here. So many so-called bands in this genre just love to lose themselves in occult references and other esoteric concepts that probably make sense to theologians and goth-scene die-hards, both of whom probably have bookshelves stuffed full of omnious-looking tomes about such subjects. But having given this album a listen through, I get the impression that this isn't the Grooving In Green way. These boys just want to rock out. They're goth rockers that are tired of goth. Sure, when they want to, they can call upon the clichés. The cathedral-sized instrumental album intro "Breathless" conjures images of smoke machines and guitar-wielding silhouettes, but it on the second, title track that the tone for the album is set. The bands vocalist, the outrageously named General Megatron Bison has a decent range, able to switch between garden-variety growling, a more strident hard rock and a conventional indie rock tone with ease. Whilst the band's instrumentation isn't any other than a slightly different combination of elements we've heard many times before, it's well executed and in places (particularly on tracks such as 'A New Vessel') seriously intense in it's impact. It's therefore on the subject of songwriting that bands such of this need to score, and fortunately the band had the good sense to write some lyrics that real people not educated in obscure philosophies or belief systems could understand. Sometimes they resort to blatant social commentary ("Fat Cats") or attacks against the mass media ("More News About Nothing"). "Lucid" makes a particularly plaintive cry about the effects of domestic abuse. But the real joker in the pack is "King Mediocre", which cries out for a quote to best sum up it's intended target: "Never stray from laws laid out by those who came before It served them well enough, guess I'm a fucking scene whore?" A timely comment indeed, given that I've not exactly been impressed by a significant quantity of recent scene output, which either rehashes well-worn territory or makes ill-fated attempts to shoehorn previously-unrelated styles together to create something that apparently can be passed of as originality. Grooving In Green aren't exactly solving either of these problems with this album, but they do succeed in making valid statements, both musically and lyrically, and in a genre that's got very little creativity left in it, they've done the best they could under the circumstances. If you're looking for some no-nonsense, scene-friendly rock numbers, this would be a pretty good choice. 450
Brutal Resonance

Grooving In Green - Stranglehold

7.5
"Good"
Spotify
Released 2012 by Glory & Honour
I've heard plenty of odd genre definitions in my time, and probably dreamt up just as many myself. This English three-piece are now responsible for yet another sub-sub-genre being added to my armoury - Groove Goth. As a relatively young collective, having only been formed in 2008 (though consisting of ex-members of Children on Stun and Solemn Novena), it's clear they've done pretty well for themselves, having clocked up some credible live performances and backed it up with a couple of studio albums, the second of which is reviewed here.

And it's on a second album that a band's signature sound needs to crystallise if they have any hope of standing out from the vast army of 80s goth rock copyists that fill the lower echelons of WGT line-ups. Certainly the fundamental elements of Grooving In Green's line-up aren't anything noteworthy. Singer, guitarist with a stack of sound-enriching effects, bassist, and a drum machine programmed to provide the aforementioned 'groove'. They've even given 'him' a name - Dr Toxic. Didn't Garden of Delight hit upon this two parts-Nephilim to one-part Sisters combo a couple of decades back? Actually, you could have inserted the name of pretty much any European goth rock band there!

But there's something subtlety different going on here. So many so-called bands in this genre just love to lose themselves in occult references and other esoteric concepts that probably make sense to theologians and goth-scene die-hards, both of whom probably have bookshelves stuffed full of omnious-looking tomes about such subjects. But having given this album a listen through, I get the impression that this isn't the Grooving In Green way. These boys just want to rock out. They're goth rockers that are tired of goth.

Sure, when they want to, they can call upon the clichés. The cathedral-sized instrumental album intro "Breathless" conjures images of smoke machines and guitar-wielding silhouettes, but it on the second, title track that the tone for the album is set. The bands vocalist, the outrageously named General Megatron Bison has a decent range, able to switch between garden-variety growling, a more strident hard rock and a conventional indie rock tone with ease. Whilst the band's instrumentation isn't any other than a slightly different combination of elements we've heard many times before, it's well executed and in places (particularly on tracks such as 'A New Vessel') seriously intense in it's impact.

It's therefore on the subject of songwriting that bands such of this need to score, and fortunately the band had the good sense to write some lyrics that real people not educated in obscure philosophies or belief systems could understand. Sometimes they resort to blatant social commentary ("Fat Cats") or attacks against the mass media ("More News About Nothing"). "Lucid" makes a particularly plaintive cry about the effects of domestic abuse. But the real joker in the pack is "King Mediocre", which cries out for a quote to best sum up it's intended target:

"Never stray from laws laid out by those who came before
It served them well enough, guess I'm a fucking scene whore?"

A timely comment indeed, given that I've not exactly been impressed by a significant quantity of recent scene output, which either rehashes well-worn territory or makes ill-fated attempts to shoehorn previously-unrelated styles together to create something that apparently can be passed of as originality. Grooving In Green aren't exactly solving either of these problems with this album, but they do succeed in making valid statements, both musically and lyrically, and in a genre that's got very little creativity left in it, they've done the best they could under the circumstances. If you're looking for some no-nonsense, scene-friendly rock numbers, this would be a pretty good choice. Oct 11 2012

Jonny Hall

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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