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Grooveballs - 50%

Crossover, December 18th, 2016

The production here is surprisingly good considering this seems to be an independent release. Unfortunately, the music here is a done, and done again style of groove/thrash metal. Now, these guys are German, and there is just something in the water there that seems to keep them from fully emulating Pantera.

The terrible vocalist is sure trying to sound like Pantera, and in the first song the only real cool thing is the variation they put forth. Even a semi-tasteful section that seems completely out-of-place sprinkled in with the groove of the rest of the track is seemingly spoiled. Admittedly the second track Mother Earth starts with a pretty decent riff, sadly preceding a mindless "groove". The lyrics are kind of silly here, I would assume this band was quite young at the time of this recording. The song eventually breaks into a nice thrash section with again a solo that just seems out of place. Unfortunately just as the solo picks up it abruptly ends and the song devolves back into groove. If they just stuck to the more traditional side of things this band would have probably seen some actual success. The solo thing continues for the whole album, they just decide to randomly kick it up a notch when the solo part comes. They aren't particularly fantastic, mostly tapped, but they can seem engaging when brushed up against the cavalcade of groove riffs.

They have some of that Pantera tough guy attitude which is just so cheesy. Break Lies is a bluesier one and is just not a great track, just plods for too long. Blood on the Screen starts good enough and appears like it will be a good melodic thrash tune. Then it just breaks into a groovy bluesy bass tune. While it's not bad, it just cuts into the song too early. The solo is actually really cool in this song, which is probably the highlight track.

They continue with more of the same; if they are playing heavy, it carries a tough guy Pantera sound, the faster songs have some funk and blues themes, even experimenting with some more traditional metal sounding riffs ending with the decent closer Shadows of Death.It is a slow-builder with a doomier sound, but sadly is sprinkled with groove elements.

The band experiments with a lot of different sounds and if they had just left the groove metal aspect out of this altogether and picked up a decent singer, they might have been able to go somewhere with it.