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Grove : Of Moss and Men

Grove's Doom is as whimsical as it is despondent.

Grove is a two-pieces outfit from outerspace. Two leading minstrel emissaries from the Funeral Planet – as their pedigree attests- who bring us 75 minutes of Traditional Doom that sounds as if manufactured in the highest donjon of the Camelot castle. Those eerie and mournful chants come right from an open door to a parallel world invoked by the allmighty magus that lives up there.

A grove is in itself a magical place. Set in the right indolent mood, you easily make it the theatre of all sort of fairy tales – from the most innocent ones to the creepiest. Grove the band conjures up this kind of fantasies. This is mainly due to the way the keyboard sounds. It is the soul of Grove’s twisted Doom: evanescent, heavy, psychedelic and carying an impressive crepuscular power.

You’re here travelling in a twilight world, between Trad. Doom and oppressive funerary dirges. The voice is a male clean singing, very sensitive and emotional. The singer, Count Tenebrae (brrrr), has a very flexible, modulated range, with somber and solemn, half-spoken passages , occasional grunts and even some sparse blackened shouts (that are quite bad, truth be told).

The musicianship really doesn’t shine; it’s all done simply, humbly. The leads are quite basic, the ascetic drumming wisely programmed (courtesy of Moongun Wormwalk (brrr)), the bass just sustains the whole thing (you can hear it more clearly now and then, though). This is not, on a strict technical level, a brilliant album, but the musicians, conscious enough of their limitations, counterbalance them effectively with a rich and baroque songwriting: you have piano, gently sliding guitar, severe church organ, synthetized choirs, clean arpeggios and groovy bass; you even have a braying donkey boldly thrown in the mix! Grove is not you typical Doom band, oh no!

'Of Moss and Men' (I love that album title!) is a voyage. Through tragic moors and silent ruins where marble tombs are softly gleaming under the moonrays. Where little frightening people are hidding in the groves. This dreamy soundscapes are the spinal column of Grove’s Doom. The band takes all advantages of the keyboard’s potential. It’s the soul of Grove (did I already say that?). The band breathes through it. On the third track – where the bass work, becoming audible, is very efficient – it enters the realms of ambient music, what explodes on the course of the track which brings back to life old electro sounds that I wouldn’t have expected to hear again: it reminds me of a famous French electronic music composer: Joel Fajerman, who has been active during the eighties (two people reading this maybe know who I’m talking about. Anyway, I mean this old French TV series: ‘L’Aventure Des Plantes’!). It has the same spacey and tragic vibe; on this long instrumental part, the band showcases an exquisite progressive sense of composition.

'Of Moss and Men' is an expressive work, mellow and melancholic and even menacing, in a certain way. Plodding Doom that never yields to futile accelerations of superficial bombast. Full of dark atmospheres, it has elegiac turns and an overall magestic drive that you don't encounter so often. Artistically, I think this quite unique, original, yes, although bands like Griftegard, Warning or Fall Of The Idols can offer some points of comparison. This is bleak, slow and totally deprived of flashy parts or demonstrative momentums. This is Doom shrouded with despondency. Agonizingly slow . Sad, sad, sad. And weird. Twisted. Sad and twisted? I'll have one more!

Reviewer's rating: 8.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Satyr's Grove
2. Old Europe
3. Shadows from Outer Space
4. Of Moss and Men
5. Call of Cthulhu
Total playing time

Duration : Approx. 75 minutes

Visit the Grove bandpage.

Reviewed on 18-06-2010 by Bertrand marchal
A Dream Of Poe - The Wraith Uncrowned
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