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Grooving In Green - Stranglehold (2012) - Review

Band: Grooving In Green
Album title: Stranglehold
Release date: 4 October 2012
Label: AF-music

01. Breathless
02. Stranglehold
03. Fat Cats
04. A New Vessel
05. Lucid
06. Gain Ground
07. Die Alone
08. Beneath The Surface
09. More News On Nothing
10. King Mediocre
11. Even The Light

Stranglehold is already the second album from British super band of gothsters Grooving In Green. Why super band, you may ask..., because the three members who are responsible for this music are all very well noted musicians who sharpened their experiences before in legendary Children On Stun and Solemn Novena. They've labeled their musical output as "groove goth" and on some point that's what really this is. Two years have passed since their debut Post Traumatic Stress and the things changed a bit regarding the sole music and sound, but is it better and what does it bring from musical perspective?

Their sophomore album is more energetic, it has more "in your face" rocking elements, but it does not offer anything new on the gothic rock fields. The three members have gothic rock in their little finger and they can cope with best elements of the genre like nothing, they show this as soon as the album opens with instrumental track "Breathless", where the listener must notice The Sisters Of Mercy and Fields Of The Nephilim elements. The second, album titled track "Stranglehold" is one of the best up here. Nicely driving guitars, strong bass, unpretentious melodies with kind of popy smell and captivating vocal approach are those strong points that can make some songs real hits. Yes, the band takes a lot of elements that they've used in their ex bands, so the comparison with before mentioned Children Of Stun is most noticeable, but I find if I search deeper even a lot of The Mission or March Violets, plus most groovy elements from The Cult and at least the early, most rocking character of McCoy & co. is present all over this record. Melancholic parts that often start the songs are soon overwhelmed with dirty and rough gothic rock that often spreads into one nice groove. There are no complicate or complex parts, Grooving In Green just want to rock and have good time, but they don't forget to form some very intriguing melodies, just listen to "Beneath The Surface" and you'll know what I mean. To make their sound more alternative and even more powerful there are quite a lot of post-punk vibes, for example in "A New Vessel", and yet the one can find some real good hard rocking riffs. The best is reserved for the very end with atmospheric, gentle and captivating "Even The Light", whose melody of main refrain and vocal lines shall remain in your ears for a long time. Yes, nicely executed eleven songs with a lot of energy, great vocals with lots of variations, from gentle and calm; imagine Wayne Hussey in The Mission; to harsh dark that reminds again to Carl McCoy from Fields Of The Nephilim on "Moonchild". Tracks lenght never exceeds five minutes, it circles around three and four minutes, but the problem is that even if within songs there are variations and dynamic structures, the album can become boring after a while, as the songs flow is almost the same from start till the end with some before mentioned exceptions. I can't ignore really inteligent and worth checking out lyrics which deal mostly with social matters.

Anyway, Stranglehold is an enjoyable album, especially if you search for some energy within your gothic rock. It's played very well and also the production done by Steve Carey (Eden House) seems to be suitable for this kind of music. Yet, this album is not modern, I believe that it even wasn't intended to be as it has that pure 80's and even 90's sounding character. It must be real fun to see this band playing those songs live, especially if well executed in a special atmosphere. If you search for some originality, melancholy and developed atmospheric music then Grooving In Green and Stranglehold are not the right thing, otherwise gothic rockers go for it!

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 7,5/10