Smokonomicon by Grotto

Release date: December 16, 2016
Label: Eggs in Aspic

It’s nice to review something that I can actually categorise without a hundred different genre tags for once. Grotto is a fucking awesome instrumental stoner-rock band with tints of psyche and doom thrown in for good measure. Fans of bands like Red Fang and Blown Out should consider this essential listening and I have to say Eggs in Aspic has started off on incredibly strong footing with this release and you should definitely pay close attention to them after this awesome debut.

‘Giant’s Den’ starts the album with an assured resound charging full steam ahead into blistering guitar work. The mammoth track bolts at a constant stampede rounded out with a head-bopping bass line and lead guitar flurries that colour the track with an accessible intrigue. The guitar builds into mind-bending oscillations whilst the rhythm section work hard to keep the ears blasted and the face-melted at all times.

Mesmerising guitar work kicks ‘Swamp March’ off to a dazzling start. The track elaborates on the tone of the previous track introducing quick flurries creating a sense of consistency and fluidity. The sprawling breakdown at the centre of the track places the album on a plain surveying everything at once through the dance of all-encompassing melodies. Although, it is quickly met with the beefy resound of an instrumental storm.

‘Myth Of The Kolossus’ packs even more brilliance into the EP with saliva-inducing guitar work throughout and drumming that would make George Washington cream in his pants. Listening to this makes me feel like I should be driving through some desert tundra in a van eating peyote and karate chopping cactuses to drink the tasty liquid within. I don’t say it often but this really is awesome. I feel like the band should introduce new elements down the line to develop further but this EP itself is a brilliant testament to what instrumental rock music can and should be. It sounds effortless and lands as something completely mind-blowing, its consistency makes it hard to describe without repetition, but the fact is that it’s a solid, brilliant, cohesive album that offers a lot in a small bracket of music whilst barely losing anything at all.

The final track ‘Cosmic Whispers’ starts off slightly more delicate than its predecessor although, like most of the album it glides in effortlessly as one fluid whole. It stands out perhaps as being somehow leaning even more on riffs and shredding despite realistically featuring a similar charge to the previous track. What’s strange is that the album overall has little in the way of variety and yet it doesn’t matter at all. It’s fucking brilliant and almost simple in its consistency yet, everyone in the band is clearly extremely good at what they do because each track is as mind-blowing as the one before whilst still being fairly homogeneous. I wonder if Smokonomicon was written as one long piece, it’d make a lot of sense in any case it’s all really fucking good.

If you like wild sprawling guitar tracks, bone cracking drums and earthquake-inducing basslines then this is the band for you. The record is incredibly consistent with a flow like a volcano and shit-hot instrumentation to match.

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