Groan / Vinum Sabbatum – Split EP

They Say :- UK doom ‘n’ rollers Groan have announced the release details of their long awaited split EP with Finnish psych-rock doomers Vinum Sabbatum.

Both bands had spoken about the collaboration for the last year, though logistical issues and red tape delayed the release for over 9 months after the last tracks were recorded and mixed.

Groan’s up-tempo brand of doom ‘n’ roll on this release is well-balanced byVinum Sabbatum’s more thoughtful hammond-lead psych-rock. American cover artist Ralph Walters (http://wralphwalters.com) was commissioned by the bands to paint the release’s artwork with hidden coded messages throughout the CD cover and layout.

Walters says: “I wanted to create something people could stare at for hours and hours whilst tripping”.

We Say :- Is there really a need for a split EP in the digital age ? Back in the days of Vinyl it was an opportunity for two bands to share the production costs and get their music out there. Fast forward more years than I care to think about and there is a niche market emerging, a market who eschew digital downloads in favour of buying their music the old fashioned way, on a shiny round disk that you can actually touch, and drop, and scratch……

This is a market that small independent labels are setting out to support, none more so that Doomanoid Records, from who you can get your hands on a copy of this CD for a mere 7 quid and help support the little guy.

So, a split EP then? Two similar but different bands, two tracks each… Go……

The first two efforts on this split are from CackBlabbath’s favourite Sabbath worshiping doom’n’rollers Groan. Both these are tracks that were recorded a while ago, but owing to the protracted birth of this EP have been released on the “Live in London” album (that was available as a free download a while back) in the meantime.

And I thought they were maybe just too stoned to write any new stuff 🙂

First up is Cosmic Boogie which sees them doing what they do best, raiding Sabbath’s back catalogue for inspiration then blending it into their own bastardised take on 70’s rock, this time with a slightly tripped out space flavour.

Throne Of Weed, Groan’s second contribution to this EP, keeps things going in a similar vein (as you’d probably expect). Again it’s from the more up-tempo end of their musical spectrum as they play homage to their, erm, other creative inspiration….

The second two tracks on the EP are from “Finnish psych-rock doomers” Vinum Sabbatum, and whereas Groan obviously got stoned listening to Sabbath, these guys prostrate themselves at the altar of The Doors and Hawkwind. Their first contribution is Sinister Sister which captures that organ heavy vibe like nothing else I have heard recently. If you’re going to take on something like this you have to do it well, and these guys do.

Given the musical homage paid by both these bands someone had to do something grand and sweeping. On this EP that responsibility fell to Vinum Sabbatum with their epic 11-minute-ish Disillusioned Pilgrims which seems to take a whole stack of different influences while avoiding sounding exactly like any of them. Going form ambient and tripped out to plodding doom and back, on the way knocking on the front doors of Dave Brock, Jim Morrison and Robert Plant.

The trick with doing this 70’s rock thing is being able to add something of your own musical personality to the mix, otherwise you may as well go and be a pub covers band playing Iron Man every night. Both Groan and Vinum Sabbatum are way more than that and stamp their own personalities on their music. OK so they are unambiguously inspired by those legendary names from the past but these bands add bongfulls of their own influence to proceedings without losing any of the original spirit.

At this point I feel I should really pick a favourite, a winner from the 4 tracks on here but you know what, I’m not going to. Both these bands, and Doomanoid Records, deserve your support.

So go check them out for yourself.