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Gran Duca – Beneath Thy Roots

Gran Duca
Beneath Thy Roots
by Dave Nowels at 24 July 2019, 6:43 PM

GRAN DUCA has bestowed upon themselves a new genre description….”mud-rock”. Okay, I'll go with  it, even though to my ears it's just good ol' fashioned Sludge/Stoner with clean vocals. The band comes to us from Detmold Germany, and has been rocking hard since 2013. Their debut album “Beneath Thy Roots” is our subject today. The album was independently released on June 28th in what appears to be a digital format only, and is available on Bandcamp.  The album opens with “Monstrosity” and immediately piqued my interest. A rocking clean percussion intro, and nearly immediately making Friedel and Gerber's riff heavy intentions known. Heavy being the key word. If pressed to name a comparison based on this first track, I'd say they're working off a CORROSION OF CONFORMITY vibe.

But, I've got to get something off my chest here. I don't like the vocals nearly as much as I like the music. As I pointed out, this is a German band, singing in English and yeah, the accent distracts me. It's a very slight issue for me, but one nonetheless. Obviously, this won't be a factor for everyone, and it really shouldn't take away from the band's great overall sound. Besides the great fretwork from Friedel and Gerber, the low end work of  Bextermöller is incredibly solid, if a bit understated in the mix. Hohhmeyer's percussion is outstanding, and was a constant draw for me as a listener. Good stuff. There's some real talent here.

Highlights? There's a bunch. “Monstrosity”, “Fields to Plow” and particularly “Open End” really grabbed me from the first listen. The unexpected soft beauty of the interlude “Panta Rhei” absolutely complemented the melodic rocker “The Walk” exceptionally well. Misses? Despite liking the intro a lot, I didn't really connect with “Howlin' Rollin'” due to the spoken, almost rap vocals. Mostly everything else seemed to be headed along a fortuitous path. GRAN DUCA have put out a strong effort with “Beneath Thy Roots”. It's an effort that leaves me surprised that they haven't been signed to a deal for a more widespread release. It's an album that deserves to be heard by more people, so hopefully the band generates some interest, and a label swoops in. If you're a COC fan looking for something of a similar vein, you really should check out GRAN DUCA.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 8


3 Star Rating

1. Monstosity
2. Howlin' Rollin'
3. Open Field
4. Fields to Plow
5. Witchwoman
6. All Hail the Autowagen
7. Fly With Me
8. House of Fools
9. Panta Rhei
10. The Walk
11. Blackend Son
Johannes Gerber – Vocals, Guitar
Hendrik Friedel - Guitar
Christoph Bextermöller - Bass
Felix Hoffmeyer – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 07 February 2023

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