Grusom II

I wasn’t sure how this one would turn out but they’ve got an organ player.  As a big fan of The Doors, Iron Butterfly, Birth Control and the first 3 Deep Purple’s, I gave it a shot and I’m very pleasantly surprised.  On album #2, the Denmark based smooth groovers Grusom transplant Fall of the Leafe-esque vocals (almost a dead ringer for Tuominen) atop riff-y Sabbath grooves and some Butterfly/DP twisted ambience.  The 7 tracks swing and swagger, being just heavy enough to give your floor a good kickin’ to while the songwriting swerves into some stranger shapes and colors.

A very funky, Jon Lord-esque organ romp rips “Beyond this Land” wide open, paving the way for crunchy, doom-smoked 70s rock riffery, glistening lead guitar, rock solid mid-tempo rhythms and a throaty, emotive vocal performance.  I’m very reminded of Birth Control’s stellar work circa Operation by the peaks and valleys the very prominent organ-playing embellishes.  There’s a few heavier, sludgier runs but they never get wanky and wily with the composition, instead focusing on a low slung riff-groove, pocket bass/drum interplay and those howlin’ vocals placed loud, clear and upfront.  It immediately grabbed and pretty much told me, “You’re gonna enjoy this fuckin’ album, big time.”

“Peace of Mind” has that kind of heartbreaking, sad song tone that a lot of great 70s heavy classics possess.  It’s hard to explain but the guitar licks and vocals cry out to the soul and lament on how the future isn’t worth seeing while the organ just screams and cuts through the overcast heavy clouds.  Kick ass snare fill rushes that eventually take off into busy Texas-styled shufflebeats (think Bloodrock) backs a killer split between throbbing riffs and heart-tearing, almost Southern Gothic leads colliding with a bass tone so warm you’ll get a heatstroke.  The vocals really work up some powerful dramatic belting as the song goes along and there’s even some juicy soloing that never struts or shows off too much.  A wandering Middle Eastern, lost in the desert n’ dying glow permeates the organ within “Skeletons’” lending grace to grinding doomier grooves, ominous single picked chord patterns and droning rhythms.  This is easily one of the record’s heavier tracks; the backdrop of entrancing ethnic majesty and weighted stoned-out hazing couldn’t make for a better marriage of feelings and auras.  Even the guitars gets wooly and break out into some classic metal influenced madness ala Maiden or Priest.  The immediately following “Vagn Op,” sung entirely in the group’s native tongue takes the hefty sludged vibes one step further by dropping some of the most ill-tempered riffs and molten rhythms on the LP.

The album’s final quarter contains my two favorite tracks; the first of which is the shoving, Sabbath-y rocker “Embers.”  It’s got a sizeable tonal slam akin to Maryland doom with those Paul Bunyan sized guitars chopping down some Redwoods right in your face as the organ playing is harried and foreboding.  The vocals adopt some of the bluesiest firepower yet so far and everything maintains this intense groovy swing that is always charging forward and never at rest.  That Cain warped riff that opens up “Dead End Valley” sounds like some prime Danzig/Samhain shit they should teach in school.  It’s very much in the key of John Christ and warps to a stop/start, lumbering Sab swing with haunting organ lines, thumping rock n’ roll rhythm keepin’ and super soulful vocal yowls that craft some of the toughest melodies on the disc (especially during the chorus).  The little change-ups in the riffing and mountainous blues swings (like that monster at 1:54) really make this song sing with that special extra touch.  Closer “Cursed from Birth” is a roughhewn ballad that gets really tough and nail-biting in the second half after a melancholic, extensive intro full of clean psychedelic guitar work and trembling melody vocals.

Grusom II is a great piece of work.  Right off the bat they’ve become one of my favorite retro riff n’ rolling bands.  Grusom’s songwriting and playing is much more exotic than several of the big names playing a similar type of music and it’s just overall some powerful rock music with just a heavy enough smash that it could please old proto-rock/metal fans.  Damn good stuff, give ‘em a check.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
September 19th, 2018


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