Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Groove Pipe. Hangman (2012 Reissue)

Groove Pipe.  Hangman.
Canton Records, 2012.  Originally issued in 2008.  

Canton Records is doing good service to the music community by reissuing albums that didn’t get a fair shake the first time around.  That’s certainly the case with Groove Pipe, a
metal/grunge/sludge band from the Canton/Massillon/Waynesburg area.  They’ve been around since at least 2004, and their full catalog of two CDs and an EP became available again last year, repackaged.  Now a trio, on this album they were a foursome, with Chris Cox on guitar as well as Chad Speros.  

They’ve got a good sound, strong vocals, heavy without being overwhelming, and solid songs.  I like the lead guitar; it shows a virtuosity that I appreciate in harder music.  The drums are prominent, providing a churning forward motion.  I don’t know who wrote most of the tunes (few credits on the insert), but they do a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers,” that sounds in some ways better than the original (they strip out the pseudo-country/western sound that the Stones were playing with back in the early 70s).  Groove Pipe almost goes punk with their version, and it’s refreshing.  

The title song starts off the album, and it’s a good one, establishing metal cred, and showing Speros’ voice off at its most impressive.  Further along in the album, “Air” has a similar effect, but adds some different guitar and percussive effects.  Each song after that moves in a slightly different direction, from the grunge of “If I Were the Devil” to the tricky rhythms of “Resolution.”  “Graves” has a bit of a 70s metal feel and seems familiar, but I can’t place it.  I like the solid, pounding beat provided by Brian Lewers.  I’m not so crazy about some tunes that begin as ballads, especially “Bring Peace to You,” but change of pace is important, and some folks like that slow build.  “Bleeding Again” works much better in that regard, and is much stronger both musically and vocally.

This is a solid album, worthy of wider distribution.  If you’re browsing the bins at Frankenstein Records in Canton or one of the other stores that sells local music and you are fond of this style, pick it up.  

Personnel:  Chad Speros (vocals, guitar), Chris Cox (guitar), Matt Herzog (bass), Brian Lewers (drums).
Tracks:  Hangman, If I Were the Devil, Dead Flowers, Rise, Resolution, Graves, Bleeding Again, Air, The One I Know, Dana, Bring Peace to You.


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