Review: Groza – The Redemptive End

I first stumbled across Groza in 2018, when their debut Unified in Void showed up on my radar through some various online reviews. The first impression was a quite positive one – after all, I am a big fan of MGLA’s misanthropic black metal, and Groza’s debut was nothing if not a blatant copy of MGLA. From the band name (taken from MGLA’s 2008 debut full length) over the outfits and imagery down to the very structure and progressions of the riffs and vocal lines. Well, if you have to copy, you better copy well, and Groza definitely did that. I actually really liked Unified in Void and had it on heavy rotation for quite a while.

Now 3 years later, the Germans are back with their sophomore full length The Redemptive End, and it seems they have changed their ways, or at least added another influence to their inspiration. Now besides MGLA, they seem to have discovered Uada was well. You know Uada, the band that some people called “MGLA-light” for a while? Circles within circles, man… But let’s not harp on the lack of originality of Groza too much, when that is a problem that not only plagues them, but a pretty large group of current black metal all around. The Redemptive End is, if judged on its own merits, actually a pretty good record.

New to their arsenal, besides the expected blast beats and harsh grunts, we get some post-rock inspired riffs that blend in really well. Add to that some clean passages and a songwriting that switches through the available repertoire smoothly enough, and you get a record of around 42 minutes on 6 songs that never overstays its welcome. The guitar riffs are good and well played throughout. The drums are on point and every once in a while you get some of the bell-acrobatics we love from the Polish forerunners. The vocals are expertly delivered and as professional as they were on the debut. The production is clear and modern and meaty. There is not a single component in this product that I can say I dislike. It does feel like a product though, and not like a work of love, but that might just be me. Could be I am totally off on this, but my gut feeling tells me that every other band meeting for Groza starts with the sentence “Market research has shown…”. Now, that’s probablly exaggeration, and as mentioned, the record is actually pretty good.

But I cannot fall in love with this. There is nothing new here, I am never surprised by a riff, and I cannot loose myself in the melancholy of the soundscapes. It just feels too premeditated and planned, instead of raw emotions that made their way onto the record. But music was, is and always will be subjective, so while I will probably forget about this record within a weeks time, I highly recommend it to fans of MGLA, Uada and the likes. The craftsmanship is on point, the music is good, and what seems derivative to me might sound refined to somebody else. The Redemptive End is definitely very competent. Enjoy.

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