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Grand Massive – Gdansk: A Tribute to Danzig – review

Release date: Out Now

Genre: Metal

Label: Metalville

  • Band members:-
  • Vocals – Alex AndronikosGuitar
  • Jochen BollathGuitar
  • Peter Wiesenbacher
  • Bass – Toby Brandl
  • Drums – Holger Stich

Tracklisting :-

1) 777
2) Death Comes Ripping
3) Kiss Of Steel
4) Am I Demon
5) Let The Day Begin
6) Mother
7) She
8) Skulls
9) Burn.

Grand Massive formed in Bavaria, Germany in 2008, treading the boards faithfully with their stoner metal sound, until they could get a full album release in 2016, titled III.   It then followed that they wanted to honour their main inspiration behind their music and created, Gdansk: A Tribute To Danzig.

In their own words, Grand Massive say, ‘he was one of the first who set off our unbroken fascination’.  ‘Each period of his work influenced us deeply.  Our initial idea was to create something genuine and impulsive, comparable to the time we started making noise in an old garage.  As a band we wanted to record a bow to him.  But soon it became more, musicians joined us and what started as an idea for maybe 7″ just grew.  In our interpretation, we wanted to have the rudeness and the gloom of the Samhain recordings as well as the attraction of the logos and artwork.  Our skull design, half Danzig, half Misfits, complements our deference’.

It seems reasonable to assume that holding the ‘Evil Elvis’ in such high esteem has helped to create a very listenable set of covers.  Having made that release with a number of guest appearances, which support a superb level of musicianship.  All of the tunes on this release were either written by the Misfits, Samhain or Danzig, thus encapsulating all of the reasons why we love Mr Danzig.  This is a thoughtfully produced record and I believe a fitting tribute.

On 777, Grand Massive are joined by Luca Princiotta on slide guitar and Thobbe Englund on lead guitar.  The opening track instantly displays the brooding intensity created by that monster riff crossing the slide guitar.  There is no denying that this is a solid effort and captures the sound quite perfectly, especially with beautiful soloing.  Following that is, ‘Death Comes Ripping’.  Quite simply, this is a straight ahead cover but it really is performed well.  ‘Kiss Of Steel’ sees the band joined by Britta Gortz on vocals, providing a deep throat to the sound and complements those by Alex Andronikos.  The solos by Andi Bock on ‘Am I Demon’, are a soulful and fitting effort within the pulsating drums and riffs.  ‘Let The Day Begin’ is another great tune which displays all of the reasons why Grand Massive gave us this tribute.

On the iconic, ‘Mother’, Thobbe Englund returns for some guitar duties, Christof Leim provides the solos, with Nick Douglas on bass.  The biggest surprise are the vocals of Guernica Mancini.  Keen to be doing something different, Grand Massive introduced a female lead vocal.  So upon listening to the opening bars of the familiar guitar riff, when the vocal opens up, I was genuinely surprised.  Ms Mancini has a superb voice and really belts out this cover with aplomb. 

‘She’ and ‘Skulls’ round off this tribute with some more great vocal performances.

I can understand why people might have an aversion to listening to tribute albums when the original music is so readily available.  But if you have never had access to the Samhain, Danzig or Misfits catalogue then this would be a good entry point.  You can genuinely feel the warmth of affection that this band and their guests have for the music and this pervades throughout this album.  When doing covers, a band has to consider whether to stick close to the original sound, or to take a risk and do something completely different but still within the parameters of the song.  I think Grand Massive have achieved what they set out to do on this record and they can be proud of their efforts. 

SCORE: 8 out of 10

Reviewed by: Stefan Putwain

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