And welcome to one of those reviews where the writer stumbles around in the dark trying to make sense of something in a total alien language to them. Work cut out a bit but there is one thing that cannot be denied and that is what a thriving underground scene there is in Poland. Godz Ov War are a label who are well versed in it and it is always a pleasure discovering new obscure bands from them. In this case it is the turn of Gruzja whose name may well translate to Georgia, but then again maybe not. We are told via various platforms that their music is from “filthy, moist and drunken basements” and it is full of “Pus, rot, ugliness and dirty love!.” They put some odd content in the form of video clips and pictures on their social media and one gets the feeling that they may not take themselves completely seriously. As to who exactly they are, I am uncertain there too but from the picture on the CD inlay get the feeling that they may well be a duo. Track titles translate apparently to the likes of ‘Let Me Down,’ ‘Go Further,’ and ‘How Many Of Us Were There?’ Questions, questions and I am not sure of any of the answers.
Onto the music then and that is a tad easier to interpret over the 7 tracks we have here. Firing off with Gruzini which to me may as well be a breadstick in my grasp of any language but is probably not we get strange sounds followed by a fast and thrashy blackened template with flailing guitars and horrible vocal rasps. This is somewhat punky black metal that could give the likes of Impaled Nazarene a run for their money, it’s course thick and furious, designed to get the head banging as it clatters out the traps with whirring guitars and thick bass. Slowing down but with plenty of gravitas it’s easy to acknowledge that melody gnaws away in a tarry like blackened groove. Some dictatorial spoken parts come out the speaker and what sounds like a nuclear explosion. Luckily Gruzja have not accidently blown themselves up and rumble on into the next doomed sermon. Morbid and plodding the harsh shouts have a message and one gets the feeling that the duo could be heralding the oncoming apocalypse. The throaty growls are excellent in any language and the pair are not adverse to annunciate things cleanly either with some well-placed croons. All-out war follows with blasts and ballast, cymbals clash furiously and the vocalist rants and screams above it all. Furious with an industrial edge, there’s absolutely no screwing around going on here, just abrasive fury and total destruction, thrown out at warp speed. Suddenly a stalking slithering riff comes in and sends shivers down the spine as the track hits a leaden groove which is really bloody good and sinister.
There’s a really well written contrast between frenzied stabbing attacks and slow atmospheric parts here that really draws you into the music and keeps you coming back for repeated listens. The fact this is just under a half hour probably helps with the latter too as this keeps ending up back on the stereo. Still nothing quite prepares for the last and title track no matter how many times you hear this. We suddenly go completely off grid with an instrumental number that turns things on head with a mix of dubstep, drum and bass and synthwavey techno. A wtf moment indeed but one that just enforces the fact that this lot are obviously a couple of sandwiches short of a full picnic hamper.
So Gruzja, I like you a lot, even if I haven’t got a bastard clue quite what you are on about.
(7.5/10 Pete Woods)