Grant National come to us from Germany and claim they have been “Making juices flow since 1973”. You can certainly hear some old school influence in their sound, but they are by no means stuck in that era and there are tons of modern influence in their music as well. The band is comprised of Gaylord Goldmann (Vocals, Bass, Guitar), Earo Sheppert (Guitars), and new member N.D. Sheppert (Drums). With influences ranging from James Brown to The Melvins the band somehow manages to cohesively mold all these differing influences into one well flowing style. The bands last release was ‘Volume II’ in 2013 and prior to that the band released ‘Sheer Beauty’ in 2011. The band has now unleashed their newest creative force with ‘Double Black’ on October 20th, 2017. Grant National took a little longer between records this time around and I believe it certainly shows in the progression of their sound. ‘Double Black’ was recorded with German Noiserock popes Guido Lucas & Ralf J. Rock at their Stöhrsound Studio during the 1st half of 2017 and the album was released via Bluenoise Records.
Grant National kicks things off with the track “Hit L.A.”. There is some really sickening sounds before this downtrodden riff rings out. You hear the sound of cicadas in the background and almost like some zombies moaning in the background. The straight forward clean vocals from Gaylord Goldmann ring out and pace themselves right along with the galloping riffs. There is a massive groove also implemented by Goldman on bass to their sound. As the song continues on you get one incredible instrumental breakdown where the riffs speed up. This is what I like to refer to as muscle car music. High octane with a thundering groove. “Row” has to be one of my favorite tracks on the entire album. Some simply snare and cymbal works gets the song on its feet along with some welcomed feedback. The vocals here are very similar to the opening track but it has a little more grit to the chorus. The percussion by N.D. Sheppert is the major stand out here with some really jazz based influence and you even get some quick snare rolls which is reminiscent of a marching band. When the chorus kicks in each time yelling “Row, Row” you can’t help but grit your teeth and head bang along to the beat. The band isn’t shy about giving you an amazing instrumental breakdown either. The guitar work by Earo Shima shrieks out and for a 3 piece the band has an incredibly large sound. The band name drops some influences as Black Sabbath, Led Zepplin, The Melvins and James Brown. If you listen closely enough you can hear all of those molded into this one incredible monster they call Grant National. “Green Mamba” is another stand out track. The song almost begins like a thrash ballad of sorts but quickly ramps up the speed and mutates into something much more. The vocal approach here is much more aggressive than previous tracks. The song has a more chaotic sound. In some of the other tracks the vocals keep pace with the riffs but here the guitars run off leaving everything else in the dust. Another instrumental breakdown gives us some 70’s era guitar sounds matched perfectly with a tsunami of cymbal crashes. That little bit of a retro feel on this track takes the whole album to another level. We move on to “The Warlord” which instantly gives you that beer drinker’s anthem feel. The lyrics just flow so well “Harness fallow land, take it from the man, The Warlord”. Keep up if you can because this track is packed with adrenaline. Grant National pack this album with incredible tracks, there isn’t any weak tracks and everything contributes something special to the record. With a ton of relisten value this is an album you will be spinning for months.