With the end of the 90s and rise of various other sub-genres with the Metal title, there has been fewer and fewer Groove Metal bands coming to light and even fewer of those that play with any kind of heart and unique material. Thusly, for fans of the genre like myself, you turn to those old albums and just continue to enjoy them because most of those bands have now moved from the genre to different pastures. But not GURD. This band continues to follow their Post Thrash Metal pathways even on their 8th studio album, “Your Drug Of Choice”.
This is my first encounter with the Swiss quintet, but I must admit – this is a great way to start my journey into the band’s music. GURD gives their audience a deep and mature listening experience unlike 95% of the Groove Metal bands out there today. Harkening back towards the debut album of MACHINE HEAD or even the highlight days of PANTERA, “Your Drug Of Choice” is monster riffs, a battery of drum accompaniments, heavy bass layering, and barking vocals. What sets this release apart from the previous bands is the Thrashier moments and the speedier sections that shred out of the groove to overtake parts of the musical sections. The chorus of “Once For All” exemplifies this quite nicely as it shifts to a melodic Thrash riff and then back into the groove for the verse. It’s a combination that works very nicely.
This band throws a lot of things at the listener including melody which is something most Groove Metal bands tend to shy away from. The melodic solo and sung vocals in “Colony Collapse Disorder” make one forget that there was a massive staccato riff in the song to begin with so when it appears again to end the song one feels surprised…again. The band just makes all of their music seem effortless on “Your Drug Of Choice” as they move through the various styles and sounds in a very natural way. This is a band that has the time under their belt and still carries a vision of what they want to accomplish. And they do it with amazing agility and energy.
“Your Drug Of Choice” is easily one of the best Groove Metal releases of the last year if not the last five. I know that the audience for the genre has become limited but if you like early MACHINE HEAD or even PRONG then this release is easily the next step for your collection. GURD throws the entire world into their music and I willingly make it my new ‘drug of choice’.
As a side note: it never hurts to have a duet with Schmier on your album. Instantly made “Seven Starz” a standout track!
Songs to check out: “Madness Reigns”, “Seven Starz”, “Colony Collapse Disorder”.
(Online December 27, 2008)