GLOOMBALLGloomball are a 5-piece alternative metal band hailing from Mannheim, Germany. Formed in 2010 and releasing their debut album “The Distance” in 2013, the band impressed many across Europe with their song writing. Now in 2015, the band are back once again to release the follow up effort “The Quiet Monster”, which follows on from its predecessor and improves on the band’s sound greatly. Sound scary yet?

“The Quiet…” opens up the album and it’s basically 21 seconds of a slowly rising in volume swirling sample which links straight into the intro of the following track “Monster”, which picks up from the intro with a big powerful riff which sounds a lot like Sparzanza and Mustasch – no nonsense and hard hitting. Rolling off the intensity for the verse, the vocal/bass/drum approach works great – really emphasising the raw and attitude filled delivery and the chorus just brings it all back with a steady melodic based approach and guest backing vocals provided from Matthias Hechler (Crematory) add that extra touch to it. Round the mid-point there’s a hard hitting break with a small twisting lead section which leads to the final chorus build up and it all falls together nicely.

“Straight To Hell” opens up sounding a lot like a more modern In Flames track with the harmony guitar riff and Scandinavian sounding verse riff over a solid rhythm. Vocally it’s got that power from the first track and the chorus has a huge melodic hook which will catch you with the rhythm/lead interplay and the shift in tempo all coming together quite nicely. Lead wise, the section at 1:55 is great. Harmony lines and some technical wizardry lead to a post solo breakdown with a real dirty and raw sound which builds the tension up as the lead line from the chorus comes in and grows in volume for that big final chorus effect. “All Beauty Dies” is up next and it starts off with a sorrowful sound. Softly delivered vocals with a theme of mourning and loss in the verse really set the tone for this track and when the dirt kicks in, it’s powerful and emotive. It hits hard but still maintains that haunting edge it had whilst clean. The solo is well timed in the song – it’s not flashy, it’s just a straight forward melody which fits with the line of the song and the backing piano piece accompanying it and it plays out till the end of the track whilst the final chorus plays and the vocals get real impressive.

“Towards The Sun” has an almost alt-rock/pop-punk feel to it in the intro as it opens up. Softly delivered vocals over bass and clean guitars starts the verse off and you can’t help but anticipate an explosion of sound. Instead it transitions seamlessly into the distortion before the simple sounding chorus with the ringing clean leads still present but only slightly audible. It’s a very radio-friendly track and it’s certainly a good bit of variety for the album so far. Highlight being the 3:20 mark where the explosion of energy and life comes into it with a steady build up into a great outro solo/chorus. “Sirens (Die Alone)” starts off clean with some interesting talk-box like effects and a simple melody before it kicks in with the distortion with some real 80’s styled harmony lines before exploding into a full on fast paced groove laden track. The verse has some real chunky riffs but the chorus slows it down guitar wise for some big moment feel with extremely powerful vocal delivery and precise drumming. It’s a straight up modern metal track so you know what to expect. The solo is twisting and melodic, with an old school metal feel which is a nice touch, and the obligatory post solo breakdown sits well before the ending.

“One More Day” starts off slow again, this time with samples and a piano. When the vocals come in for the verse, its just bass, drums and the samples which really show the strength in the vocalist’s delivery and helps set the mood. With the chorus the band kicks in properly, keeping the slow pace and delivering that kick where it is needed. It’s a sorrowful number and you can tell there is real emotion in it, much like ‘All Beauty Dies’ earlier on in the album. “Sullen Eyes” restores the heavy vibe with some real big mammoth-sized riffs. Toeing the line between doom and metal, this song just has that crushing feeling and you can’t help but want to headbang along as the massive sound just grabs hold of you. Sinister sounding vocals, pounding bass and heavy guitars just create an intense atmosphere and even when it brightens up a little, it still retains that power.

“(Don’t) Surrender” is up next and it’s just a straight forward, simple metal song but the simplicity is what makes it so good. Steady paced, it doesn’t have the intensity of previous tracks in terms of delivery, but its catchiness is the selling point. Strong vocals, a catchy hook and decent rhythm, it’s better to just hear this song to get why it’s been stuck in my head since the first listen of this album! “Unbreakable” is another slow starter with the vocals and piano route to begin with. When the rest of the band joins in, it has an interesting little riff-guitar fill follow up before the predominantly clean verse with the trademark powerful vocals, and the chorus revisits the guitar riff-fill from the intro. Its relatively simple, much like the previous track, but simplicity with alternative metal usually yields good results.

“Blood Red World” has a real intensity to it from the off with the dark sounding riff and drum build up to start with. When it kicks in, it’s just a straight up angry sounding fast paced metal song with some ferocious riffing in the verses. Chorus wise, it slows down which is a surprise and kind of takes away from its momentum, but it does pick up a little again before it slows down for the ending. “Blue Is Turning Into Gray” closes the album. Opening with just vocals and the sound of strings backing it up, it has a moody feel to it. Synths and guitars add to the moodiness and it’s a real slow paced number with some powerful vocal work, once again featuring Matthias from Crematory assisting. Its not a special track as such, the interesting thing is the vocal interplay and the synth and string work providing the atmosphere, but on the whole, it’s a tame way to end what has been a good album.

“The Quiet Monster” is a great album. It’s got a variety of styles and influences and not much repetition on it so you can listen multiple times and find something new to enjoy. With solid music and some powerful and impressive vocals, Gloomball are one to watch out for!

(8/10 Fraggle)