Review of Masticator EP by Groak

If you regularly go to noisy shows in Leeds, then over the last year you may have come across drone/doom metal outfit Groak. Moreover, you may have been deafened by Groak as what makes them so stellar live is how piercingly loud they are. With just guitar, bass, drums, feral screaming and a hell of a lot of distortion, Groak are capable of making you feel like sonic walls are closing in on you. They finally have a release in the shape of 'Masticator', the band's debut EP, which does a great job at documenting this intensity. 

Groak Masticator EP

'Trichobezoar' announces itself with just one crushing chord that rings out for a good while before moving fret to fret to keep the noise alive, while ominously slow drums strengthen the drone. The build-up soon gives way to banshee-like vocals and a bombardment of blastbeat drumming. 

'Despite The Gawker' starts with a similar droning, pendulum riff, with the distortion giving off disorienting feedback sending the listener into a haze. There's a moment of relief as the amps ring out; a powerful moment, as if it were between rounds at a boxing match - and round two proves to pummel the listener with steady but firm blows.

'Gastric Interruptions' also limps across the frets, but is more groove driven this time around and throws in a repetitive sequence you can't help but bang your head to.

'Notebook' features little movement, but plenty of strength with sparse notes leaving their impact alongside the tense, robotic rhythm of a tom and a cymbal. Groak's effectiveness lies in being able to do just as much with one  solid thump as many bands do with dozens and drags you along like you're tied by the legs to a horse in a desert.

Metal has often been accused/celebrated of being the devil's music, but it's not everyday a band sounds that menacing, and in just 4 songs Groak have created a desolate soundscape to an apocalyptic wasteland. On the evidence of 'Masticator', Groak have a bright future ahead of them.


Max Cussons

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