[Review] HALF Gramme of SOMA - Groove is Black

HALF Gramme of SOMA - Groove is Black
Every band that starts with a nice debut album doesn't have by necessity similarly nice follow up releases. HALF Gramme of SOMA is not one of those bands.

I've been following the steps of HGoS since the beginning and back in 2013 I really adored their debut album which made me think that "this is a band that is going to make us talk about them in the future" (here is a review of their debut album).
I was never sure if this will be coming true but at least that was what I wished back then.

Since 2013 the band went through a lot of changes. Just after the release of their debut HGoS changed their bassist and their singer. With this lineup, in 2014, they released the EP "Marche au Noir" which was obviously a different approach relatively to the sound that presented us in their debut, but still it had the same strength, power and groove and it was a definite step forward to their evolution.

But the band was not meant to continue with the same members once more. After the release of "Marche au Noir" there was a dramatic change in the band's lineup which was 'finalized' in the beginning of 2015 and remains the same since then. The new members that were added belong to the notorious 'smoking community' that resides in the 4th floor of an "infamous" building in Piraeus... With this lineup HGoS managed to create their new album entitled "Groove is Black".

In my opinion, that last change in the lineup is what really defined the sound and the character of their new album. Although their general direction remained quite the same as before, this album which is their second full release, is a totally new and separate chapter, if not a milestone for HGoS. Of course the main reason for that is the whole new lineup but that isn't the only reason because this time all the members contributed in many different ways in composing the new tracks, meaning that teamwork this time was more efficient and effective. At this point I must note that the new singer 'Dionisis' was the vocalist of the legendary "Vibratore Bizzaro", their new bassist 'Nick' is also bassist of "Sadhus", 'Choco' is the current guitarist of "Last Rizla", and 'ToPill' is the drummer of "Pools of Mercury".

If I had to describe in a few words the 'taste' this album left to me after several hearings, those words would simply be: "rock'n'roll" and that's not only because of the sound, but mostly because of the feeling and the general 'attitude' that the album reflects to the listener. From the beginning to the end this album is a rock feast, a groovy spiral trajectory that is calling you to follow it, spiraling you down to its unknown center. The voice of "Dionisis" may have been one of the key elements that gave the push to that spiral to start spinning and even if this isn't the point I think that it was a key ingredient for the final result because the color and tone of his voice is more than appropriate for such projects if not pure rock'n'roll on it's own.

The album is consisted of 8 tracks, with four of them being over 6 minutes in duration, and while those tended to be my favorites during the first hearings of the album I finally found myself liking equally all the tracks for different reasons each. The passage from one track to another gave me the feeling of a remarkably well structured flow, considering the album in its entirety. In addition, considering each track separately there is a clear structural pattern for each one of them that defines the general attitude that HGoS followed while composing this album.

"Gloomy Eggplant", the first track of the album (and probably the track with one of the strangest and 'funniest' titles for 2017), is the one that gives you the riff-kick in the face just after it's 'misleadingly' mild and gentle intro and it gives you a hint of what is going to follow. "Jerk", "No Man's God" and "Drowned" are probably the darkest and more emotionally charged tracks of the album with "No Man's God" being the strongest link in this chain while "Drowned" offers a purgatorial outburst on it's second half that leads to the end of the album.

"Mega Rollo Booster" is the rock-kick you get after you've listened to the first track and unfolds before you the new, true nature of HGoS in this album. Being only 3 minutes in duration it makes clear to you how the band perceives the term "rock'n'roll" and that's something that in my opinion we're going to witness more massively in their future releases. "Red Kiss" gave me the feeling that in a way the whole track smells like Jimi Hendrix allover, groovy, heavy, bluesy and sexy. "Groove is Black" starts with a dark intro that evolves very smoothly to a murky groove which reaches a climax with the guitar solo 2 minutes before the track's ending. "Doofie", being also just a little bit above 3 minutes in duration, is another fast rock'n'roll track in the like of "Mega Rollo Booster". "Doofie" was initially released in a compilation of the Greek Metal Hammer, "Heavy Rock Greece NOW!" in 2016, but for the needs of the new album it was recorded again, obviously sounding a lot better now, with "Giannis" from 1000mods contributing in this track by playing the guitar solo after 2:25.

The album's artwork is in my opinion, another aspect of the whole change that the band went through the last 2 years. The artwork follows the surrealistic title of the first track "Gloomy Eggplant" and is probably based in the following 'dream':

[...After the second sun abruptly forced its mass in, the now binary star thrust into a violent spiral orbit towards its imminent destruction.
Captive to constant daylight and under the heat of 349PW, the gigantic entities were left stranded on the deserted planet that, due to gravitational distortions, awkwardly resembled familiar vegetables.
Moments before reaching their kindling point, they swallowed their last drop; their bodies burst into flames and their psyche into the black...]

Until now you must have already guessed that I really enjoyed listening to this album but that is only the one 'face of truth'. The other is that I felt really happy for HGoS that after so many changes the band found a clear path to walk and had the guts to create and show a whole new 'face' that creates great expectations for the future.

To conclude:
"Groove is Black" flows and evolves very naturally, unfolds its rock nature almost effortless and that is its stronger advantage.

No more words! This May just click play.

The album is brought to you by Fuzz Ink Records.

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