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At least have some dignity. - 0%

NoisegrinderCR, February 7th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2018, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

At this point in time being original is a hard thing, being memorable is quite a difficult feature to achieve, so I understand that some bands could come across as something like other bands. That shit happens and it is normal. I usually don’t really care if the band reminds me of another band or another album by another artist. I can appreciate the music and forget about the rest of it.

That is not the case with Groza, the first contact I had with this band was through a video for “Ouroboros” song included in this album, and I thought to myself “Well that shit looks right like Mgla”, and then connected my headphones and in fact not only they want to look like Mgla, they want to be Mgla. From the music, to the vocals Groza tries desperately to be Mgla, and they fail miserably.

The musicianship in the album is good, they know how to play their instruments, the production is not cristal clear but better produced than Mgla’s raw discography, that is everything good I have to say about this record. The album is not by any means bad, it is regular, it has its moments, but every time the song starts to build up momentum it feels more and more like plagiarism than anything else. The song Thanatos is the prime example of this, that song is shameless ripping Exercises in Futility I off, the riff, arrangements are the same. The drum arrangements feel awfully lame, don't get me wrong, the dude can play, but when you are trying to impersonate a drummer like Darkside if you are not better than him you will come across as a dumbass who can't play as good as he.

For those who are not familiar with Mgla, and they stumble upon this record first it may be a good listening experience, but for us who are more familiar with the Polish masters, is ridiculous.

It is like if you ordered on whish a Mgla cd and they sent you Groza “Unified in void” instead, feels lazy, they dress like Mgla, they sound like Mgla, they even use Mgla riffs all over this album. I’m thinking to myself why on earth would somebody go out of their way to record something like this? Even the name of the band is taken from a Mgla album.
This kind of rip off should not be encouraged.

At least have some dignity, work your own sound, record your own style, and maybe you will be remembered for being you and not the random german jerk who tried to cash on Mgla’s success.

Great Expectations: The Folly of Outright Copying the Masters - 0%

WhenTheHypeDies, June 13th, 2019

There is a cornucopia of mediocre bands in the metal genre. Even among bands I hate, there are few that, if you sat me down to a hot mug of coffee and looked me dead in the eyes and asked for my sober reply, I would describe as downright awful. Usually, if a band is willing to commit the time to writing songs, practicing them, and recording them for posterity, there is at least something worthwhile going on in the music that’s being released - even if I don't necessarily enjoy what the band is going for.

Well, here’s one of ‘em bands that I hate.

Groza is dollar store Mgla. The band’s sound gives it away; the band’s image gives it away; hell, the band’s very name gives it away. Why is this release necessary? Why does Groza not just perform as a cover band, playing local shows, getting what would probably be a great crowd response, and maybe playing some covers on Mgla tribute discs (if there are such things)? I mean, the guys in Cannibal Corpse did not start out writing original material – they learned some Celtic Frost songs (Paul Mazurkewicz recalls “Dethroned Emperor” being the first song his pre-Cannibal band learned to play), and from there developed their chops before writing their own music. “Unified in the Void” is absolutely nothing new or engaging, and while this would not be so offensive if it were in any significant way differentiated from Mgla, this release borders on a creepy degree of imitation, like Norman Bates dressing in his mother’s clothes and talking in her voice.

There is nothing wrong with paying tribute to your influences, but “Unified in Void” spits in the face of respectful tribute and instead pilfers wholesale from Mgla’s far superior discography. Anyone who has had their antennas set to Mgla’s nihilistic transmissions will recognize many of the chord shapes used for the sustain parts, the types of progressions in the tremolo sections – hell, to stay on merely one disc in Mgla’s discography as a means of comparison, the opening to “Amongst the Worms” is a thinly veiled adaptation of the initial section of “Exercises in Futility II” and one of the riffs in “Thanatos” is a profoundly depressing mimicking of “Exercises in Futility I” (it truly has to be heard to be believed – the riff begins at about three minutes into the song and is even layered on top of blasts later on, an identical means of progression as in “E.i.F. I”). I would not necessarily have enjoyed the album if it was entitled “Unified in Void: A Tribute to Mgla,” but at least then one would be unable to accuse Groza of being a bunch of grifters. They're not exactly likely to win many fans with this approach to “artistry.”

I was initially unsure if I was going to award a zero percent rating, as the musicianship is competent, but upon listening to this album a bit more closely it increasingly seemed unavoidable. This type of release should not be seen as in any way acceptable by anyone who values the craft of writing music – this is simple waste; the plastic on which this is printed could have been put to better use. Even if this were some sort of joke trying to take the piss at how easily people are sucked into promoting vndergrovnd obscvre musick via social media (or something to that effect), it is still a simple waste of energy and labour. It is truly disappointing to see people openly praising this band – for those who did not read the whole review and skipped down here, listen to the riff at about 3 minutes into “Thanatos” and then throw on “Exercises in Futility I” if you think I am exaggerating about the degree of impersonation that is going on here. I would be surprised if the members of this band did not move on to other things (or are already involved in other things), as they know how to play their instruments, but I am unsure why this juvenilia needed to be committed to CD and vinyl: a demo of copycat material is forgivable, if still undeserving of any admiration; a full-length album through a label is frustratingly pointless and, in a case like this, absolutely disgraceful.


0%

Devoid of novelty - 0%

Cosmic Mystery, February 7th, 2019

Here comes another copycat band known as Groza. At this point I feel like giving Mgla all the credit for the music created on here because it all sounds strikingly similar to a what was produced on Groza, With Hearts Towards None and Further Down the Nest; all Groza did was take those albums, extract some memorable parts, threw in a few newer elements and improved the production. As If Gruesome (USA) and other profiting "tribute bands" aren't enough, this had to be added to the list of indolence. I don’t understand why you would exhaust your energy to make the same sounding music, attire yourself the same as Mgla and even more, name your band after a record created by Mgla. I guess it’s easier to copy and receive credit than to innovate and receive credit + constructive criticism. If more bands were being chastised for leeching off others, this kind of thing would not be so barefaced and prevalent; but given the recent physical media boom (primarily vinyl) everyone is in a band and making music. Oscar Wilde’s “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness” has never meant so much particularly today's music and ore specifically metal; there is so much plagiarism that the black and death metal genres are bound to become parodies of themselves if this path is continuously taken.

By now you would probably think the record is mediocre, but the answer is no, actually its ok. However, this is music that Mgla has already made, Groza just added new lyrics and a beefier cleaner production to a sound that Mgla has mastered. Groza’s ability on Unified in Void does not exceed Mgla’s, so then what is special about the record? There must be some redeeming factor, something that justifies the band’s work regardless of the sprawling lack of originality and blatant robbery. The title track opens up similarly to that of Mgla’s “With Hearts Towards None I”, other songs tear pages from Mgla’s Groza, Further Down The Nest and snags some Inquisition riffing.The tremolo picking is very Mgla both in tone and technique, the drumming borrows the more easily executed parts of Darkside’s maelstrom of madness and the vocals are quite good with some added discernible grunts here and there. There is one song on the record that has a very punk/hardcore middle section, I think its "Unworthy" (what a coincidence); and unlike Mgla's music that has a peak/climax, Unified in Void just staggers along except for the track "Thanatos" that showcases decent acceleration and deceleration, but even then the Mgla similarities are easily heard.

So then the only reason you should purchase the record is for some different vocals scantily sprinkled over an already cooked dish. Or maybe it's the lyrics that most people will support the band for. Should one rate the record based on how well they copy Mgla or should it be rated based on the little effort made to innovate. If Mgla or any other band could try creating a new sound and aesthetic and gain much success from it, then that should be enough motivation for other bands to seek individuality in their own music. Yes a band's sound may be traditionally this or that; however, it is vital that a sincere attempt is made in establishing a sole identity.

This laziness only contributes to irrelevance in any given genre. Instead of copying one should strive for individuality; this is the attribute that often propels new bred creations and inspirations.

“Blessed be the tailors
The masks are cut to fit

Blessed be the woodworkers
The crosses and the gallows

Blessed be the forgers of iron
And the spikes and the barbwire

Blessed be the stone-cutters
It took a quarry to bury the dreams”