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GRANT NATIONAL – ‘Double Black’ Album Review


Grant NationalFrom the opening church bell to the Killing Joke serrated guitar and Black Sabbathesque guitar chords, Germany’s Grant National grab you by the throat and demand that you pay attention. They’ve been at this since 1973 and they are like a full on invasion from Köln. Hit L.A. is dense and dark veering into heavy metal crossover territory in a Melvins way.

On Tarman that KJ/Amebix guitar sound is prominent again with a pounding rhythm and Metallica sounding vocal. The band mix things up on Row with an extended intro of guitar feedback on top of some complex drum rhythms that build into an atonal layering of guitars and the sound builds throughout. Powerbloat continues where the prior track left off with some sludge style drums and power chords supporting a menacing vocal. The title track, Double Black is almost five minutes in length with a slower pace and darker sound as the guitars slowly chunk out the rhythm with the guitar and the plaintive shouts of the vocalist add to the head-banging pace.

Grant National’s songs are lengthy and compelling with Toe Knee introducing an acoustic guitar for an extended and restrained intro before the track just launches into sheer metallic noise for over three minutes! The following song, Red Sun, is a welcome return to that Killing Joke sound mixed with a more metal style vocal and it sets up Green Mamba where the band build from a slower opening to a real rocking effort that I truly enjoyed.

The second to last track, The Warlord, had me reaching for the Amebix albums to compare and contrast and, by now, it is clear that Grant National ply their trade in the zone between punk rock and heavy metal and they mine that seam with aplomb. The album concludes with RK VI and the band wrap things up beautifully with layers of riffs introducing a true mosh-pit classic.

Double Black by Grant National is a strong album and you can find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/Grant-National-195098363852676/