Recently, I’ve been getting into quite a bit of Ukrainian black metal. I’m not saying that black metal from Ukraine has its own unique sound (because it doesn’t really), I’m just saying that I’ve been getting more black metal bands that happen to be from Ukraine. Before these guys, the only Ukrainian black metal band that I had in my collection was the legendary group Drudkh. As of now, I also have Nokturnal Mortum, Anthropolatri, Astrofaes, Cold of Tombstone, Dub Buk, Hate Forest, Kroda, and Lucifugum (all of which I’m currently in the listening process of). Another band that I got was Gromm, and Gromm was the band that stuck out to me the most. Besides getting stuck on the Lunar Poetry record by Nokturnal Mortum, I just keep catching myself going back to Gromm’s discography. Although I’m going to eventually try to review at least most of Gromm’s discography, the record that I’ve been listening to the most is Happiness – It’s When you are Dead…
Gromm’s sound sticks to the bare rawness of black metal in its purest form. Obviously, that sentence in itself should tell you that if you require your metal to have high and professional sound quality, this isn’t for you. But for those of you that either enjoy or want to be exposed to what us black metallers refer to as “true” black metal, yes, you need this record.
Gromm is one of the better examples of a black metal band that makes their classical influence more obvious (some others are Burzum, Gorgoroth, Ulver, the symphonic black genre, and Angantyr). But then again, the classical influence is easier to hear once you realize, understand, and recognize the connection that black metal (and extreme metal in general, but mainly black metal) has with classical music. As much as I would love to go into that, this is an album review, so I’ll save that for another time. As far as production goes, the most unique thing that you can expect from this is that there is actually plenty of bass, but only in the bass guitar; there isn’t any bass in the drums/kick drums.
The overall song structure is very solid and keeps the music interesting for the listener. It’s black metal, so there’s going to be quite a bit of repetition, but it’s not like…”Transylvanian Hunger (the song)” repetition, it’s not that much. Each song has about five to six different movements, which is about the average amount that you would find in a traditional black metal record with songs 4-7 minutes in length. The guitars have a very gritty, high-pitched distortion, which is another black metal trait that can be found in just about every black metal band, just to name a few would be Darkthrone, Nargaroth, and Drowning the Light.
I absolutely love the really soft parts like in the beginning of Seeds & Bones because they remind me of Agalloch. Most of these quiet melodic snippets aren’t very long, but everyone that listens to Gromm says that they really have a HUGE influence on the overall feel of the music itself on this record. If the band has the ability to make those little parts have THAT big of an impact on the entire sound of the music, that’s what I call talent. I would recommend this for ALL black metal fans and would rate it 16/20.