The Grand Mal is a coming together of various members from heavy hitters Mother Corona (Bassist Rob Glenn and vocalist Dave-O) and Desert Storm (guitarist Ryan Cole and drummer brother Elliot). Both bands themselves no strangers to all matters distorted, groovy, sludgy and bluesy. Having been fortunate to see the former in Edinburgh a few years ago, high expectations have been set. A self-styled ‘hard and heavy rock band’, The Grand Mal do not disappoint and deliver in all these departments, adding their own style and verve into the (surprisingly clear!) mix.
The Grand Mal is the debut album from the Oxfordshire-based band and is chock full of all the good stuff; a gentle nudge in the ribs to the groove-fuzz psychedelic riffing of the 70s, a nod towards the arid wastes of Palm Desert and its wayward sons and a more than just a wink to a thoroughly modern heavy rock sound. Whilst this is their first outing, you would never guess; their approach is brash, swaggering and full of confidence.
This is an album that, on first listen, sounds like it’s all about the riff. No bad thing in itself, but upon closer listening there is much more going on besides with the rhythm section being particularly strong without ever being overly flashy. Dave-O’s vocals are clean for the most part, adding some grit and snarl where needed and are reminiscent of John Garcia in his pomp. Lee Cressey from Mother Corona guests on ‘Pig in the Python’ and ‘Black Spiral’ bringing another dimension to the album with some blistering double-guitar fireworks.
Closing track ‘Significant’ is just that; an 8 minute-plus instrumental that showcases what the band are really capable of. This is a more than promising start from The Grand Mal and this writer is looking forward to seeing where they go next.
The Grand Mal is released on APF Recordings on 18th October 2019and can be purchased here.
Words: Scott Crawford