Most people in the metal community have either heard of heard of Godsmack or heard them. Mudvayne, Hellyeah, and Five Finger Death Punch are just as well known in the metal world. So what if one were to take these bands, toss them into a pot and stir them all together? One would get Gloomball. This German five-piece is primed to be one of the next big acts in the United States, given the right support from rock radio programmers. The band’s debut album, The Distance, is a solid mix of all of the aforementioned bands that at the same time it shows their influences, still manages to solidly maintain its own identity. It goes without saying that this record is one of the year’s best of the hard rock and metal category.
The album’s opener, ‘Burning Gasoline’ is fittingly titled. It’s a full throttle hard rock song that wastes no time getting listeners’ blood boiling. The song’s chorus is just as high powered as the music itself from band members Bjorn Daigger (guitars), Danny Joe (drums), Basti Moser (Bass) and Jossi Lenk (Guitars). Front man Alen Ljubic sings in the song’s chorus, “The more that you throw/I’ll be back for some more/I have told you before/I’ve told you/What I/Feel a-bout you/Just because/I Don’t see/The point/To help you/Anymore/You’re just gonna stay here/Progress/No less/Just like you were before/Overcome/I’m overcome.” The somewhat syncopated style of the chorus is reminiscent of Godsmack front man Sully Erna’s vocal style from much of that band’s songs.
The ability of Ljubic to change his vocal style from one song to another on this album is interesting to say the least. The same can be said of the band’s sound overall. On the album’s title track, the band has gone from a heavy, up-tempo adrenaline racer to a more controlled piece that still has a certain heavy element. It’s something more akin to something one might hear from Five Finger Death Punch. The song’s lyrical side shows a very deeply emotional topic. Ljubic sings in an almost mournful style, “This will be difficult/We all want things we cannot have/Don’t drown in disbelief/Control yourself/You learn it’s a lie/Don’t betray yourself/It’s just not there/Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” He goes on to sing “This distance makes the heart grow colder.” This song’s subject is pretty obvious. And the talent of Ljubic’s band mates to interpret the lyrics makes this one more piece of the whole that will make any rocker proud.
Save for the album’s closer—a cover of ‘Living Within My Tender Pain (from the Rocky IV soundtrack)—the album’s energy picks right back up after the title track from Gloomball’s debut record. It carries listeners straight through to that much more subdued closer, leaving audiences completely breathless, even after this much more gentle moment. As gentle as it is, its proof of Black Label Society front man Zakk Wylde’s statement long ago that a song can be heavy lyrically and musically without heavy guitars. The strains of the piano set against Ljubic singing, “I, I’m the only thing that’s real/Deep inside is where I bleed/Living with my tender pain/Ever since you’ve gone away/Why/Does it still feel like a dream/All my pain feels so unreal/And your shadow it will stay/Right beside me every day.” Yet again, Ljubic has shown his talent with this piece. Unlike so many other songs of love lost, the combination of his vocal tone expertly comes together with the sad sounds echoing from the piano to truly catch the pain one must feel in having lost someone close to one’s self. Of course as already noted, its only one of two moments when the album slows down. Those wanting something with more energy have plenty to choose from throughout the heart of The Distance. And by the time that audiences have finished their musical journey with the band, they just might find themselves wanting to travel “The Distance” with this band again. The Distance is available now in Europe and will be available in the United States on Tuesday, May 7th. The band’s only current planned performance in support of the record is a release show in Mannheim, Germany on Friday May 17th. Fans can check in on the band’s Facebook page and official website for all of the latest updates on its tour and more at http://www.facebook.com/GLOOMBALL and http://www.gloomball.com.
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