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The Grand Mal – The Grand Mal

The Grand Mal
The Grand Mal
by Dave Nowels at 30 September 2019, 8:16 PM

THE GRAND MAL are a self described “hard and heavy rock band” that hails from Oxfordshire, England. As for influences, on their Facebook page the band cites the usual variety of suspects (ZEP, SABBATH etc) as well as a few rather overlooked gems (KARMA TO BURN, PETER PAN etc). As there is another band named “Grand Mal” out there, it would seem an important note to point out that today we're discussing the self titled debut album from "THE" GRAND MAL on APF Records.

This namesake, THE GRAND MAL formed of aspirations and new opportunities. Bassist Rob Glenn and Dave-O of MOTHER CORONA got with Drummer Elliot Cole and his brother, guitarist Ryan Cole of DESERT STORM, and the rest as they say, is history. The band ironed out some riff heavy rockers and got themselves recorded properly both at Wormwood Studios with Steve “Geezer” Watkins at the productions helm and Magdalen Studios with Jimmy Hetherington. The result is a seamless sounding, fun and riff worshiping album.

THE GRAND MAL is definitely all about epic riffs. But if that's all you hear, you're missing a lot of the details. For sure, songs like “No Man's Land”, with Cole's  memorable 'chucka/chucka' secondary riff, and  his guitar work on “Burning Truth” give the album a lot of it's identity.  But to overlook the contributions of the other Cole (drums) and Glenn's bass work would be criminal. Thankfully they're prominent in the mix for all to hear. Glenn's bass lines in “Liquid Death” just drip fuzz into the breakdown while Cole gets an opportunity to open up some fancy kit work himself.

Vocalist Dave-O provides a perfect grounded approach, relying on clean, clear vocals with an occasional effect of distortion and/or reverb. His vocals and style really accentuate the groove of the songs, and I particularly liked “Glitch” for it's distorted and Punk feel. MOTHER CORONA's Lee Cressey sits in for solos on “Black Spiral” and “Pig in the Python” (what a great song title!), and the combination works exceptionally well.  Could two guitarist work to THE GRAND MAL's favor?  I guess it remains to be seen. Highlights for me included Glenn's bass heavy “Eschaton”, the aforementioned “Black Spiral” and “No Man's Land” and the unique (mostly) instrumental album closer “Significant”. For a debut THE GRAND MAL have turned in an extremely solid album and it seems another 2019 release gives us a band to keep our eyes on.

Songwriting; 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Explode
2. No Man's Land
3. Burning Truth
4. Synapse Transmission
5. Liquid Death
6. Glitch
7. Pig In The Python
8. Exchaton
9. Black Spiral
10. Significant
Elliot Cole - Drums
Ryan Cole - Guitar
Rob Glenn - Bass
Dave-O - Vocals 
Record Label: APF Records


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Edited 07 February 2023

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