This is a first for me: reviewing a split album, meaning two bands sharing the same release. In this case, the pairing is the stuff that heavy, gritty and loud rock and roll dreams are made of, smooshing together Gorilla and Grifter, two powerful British bands. Together, they bring some seriously rowdy, gritty, and roughed up rock.
I reviewed Grifter’s album ‘The Bearded Brethren’ last year (read my review), and was impressed by the band back then, but Gorilla was a new acquaintance: a gritty and ravagingly growly take on the classic Motörhead sound.
Gorilla’s Facebook bio introduces the band with a sincere, rhetorical question: “Who in their right mind , would play original, kick-asss uncommercial rock n roll, and sweat their ballls off on stages around the world for no other reason than a love of true, dirty , honest rock’ n’ roll?” Right mind or not, Gorilla is the answer.
The first four tracks on the album are by Gorilla, starting off with the fully loaded ‘Both Barrells’, with the band ripping it up, all growl and grit and devastating heavy bass and guitar. It’s a great intro to the band’s sound, and definitely caught my interest. ‘Slay Rider’ is maybe my favourite Gorilla track here, with that unreal bass-tone rumbling through your bones like some creature risen from the underworld.
No, wait, maybe it’s the rough and rumbling ‘Three Squeeler’ that’s my favourite? Who cares, I’ll take ‘em all.
Next up is Grifter – a band that refers to its own music as “noisy, dirty rock and roll”, and “Burt Reynold’s music”. I’m not sure about Burt, but Grifter is all riffs, all grooves, and heavy enough to make the floor quake and your bones shake (just turn up the volume and you’ll see what I mean). Grifter serves up four stellar tracks here. ‘Failing Asleep’ has it all: rowdy riffs, crazy lyrics, and a groove so deep you might lose yourself in it. ‘Paige Turner’ is a slice of girlie mag-inspired rock and roll, heavy and rough enough to possibly give you a rash, but totally worth it.
My favourite Grifter track here is ‘Hi Waisted’, starting off with a mad bass-drum thump and then just going off in spectacular fashion: this track is a groove monster and I love it. Final track on the album is ‘Me Love’, another deep, dark, and monstrously awesome riff-powered tune that sounds its very best cranked up past 11.
This two-fer album from Hevisike Records is a real treat. Don’t expect processed sounds, glitz and gloss: this is the best kind of dirty and gritty rock, like rolling around in a mud puddle of grooves and riffs. A definite must if you like your rock from the rough and rowdy side of town.
- Johnny Gorilla: guitar and vocals
- Sarah Jane: bass
- Ryan Matthews: drums
- Ollie: vocals and guitar
- Phil: bass
- Foz: drums
- Both Barrells (Gorilla)
- Slay Rider (Gorilla)
- Grind Yer Down (Gorilla)
- Three Squeeler (Gorilla)
- Failing Asleep (Grifter)
- Paige Turner (Grifter)
- Hi Waisted (Grifter)
- Me Love (Grifter)