Since forming in 2017, London based Gramma Vedetta have released two EPs including 2018’s Proof Of Concept and 2020’s A.C.I.D. Compliant with The Hum Of The Machine marking their full-length debut. The band are comprised of Dan Murroni – guitars/vocals, Marco Basetta – bass/synths/vocals, and new drummer Paul Annis.
The album cover is immediately arresting and draws you in from the start, as soon as I saw it, I was reminded of Shrinebuilder’s sole 2009 Self-Titled album. It is enigmatic and beautiful yet really gives few if any clues as to what to expect musically. There is a concept behind The Hum Of The Machine and it is explained in the album’s promo notes as ‘a collection of nine scenes that tell the story of a man who seeks to remain unique in a world where compliance ensures you a place in the upper echelons of society’.
A Chance To Win The Orb opens the album in a Sabbathian fashion with some devastatingly heavy riffs and Ozzy sounding vocals that recall his Ozzmosis period circa 1995. Although comparing a predominantly stoner and doom metal outfit to Sabbath doesn’t suggest startling originality, there is something in the way Gramma Vedetta deliver their music that affords the listener a freshness and vibrancy that one doesn’t tend to experience very often from the genre, especially in 2022. A fabulous opener.
Starlight Portal Show is a dark groove laden piece ala Saint Karloff with a theatrical bent that reminds me of classic 70s Alice Cooper. Robots For War has definite Monster Magnet vibes as well as a funkier Zeppelin flavour that according to the band’s Bandcamp page features up to 35 guest vocalists on the chorus! To summarise, imagine The Red Hot Chilli Peppers taking a much heavier turn, a catchy fun number despite the rather downbeat nature of the lyrics.
The Hum Of The Machine builds upon the promise of Gramma Vedetta’s aforementioned prior releases and marks their finest, most fully realised release to date…
A Broken Time Machine takes a softer sombre approach with some acoustic guitar that is infinitely less ‘celebratory’ than its predecessor, remember when Sabbath used to put out little acoustic interludes such as Solitude? Well, this has a similar type of feel, a nice change of pace that demonstrates the band’s musical diversity. The Electric Game has you thinking Kyuss and the more aggressive punkier tendencies of Green Machine, meanwhile, The Future Of The Past is melodic mid-tempo prog that sounds positively epic. I love the contrasting styles that the band manage to conjure with relative ease.
Transmission’s On is the longest track on the album and a trippy psychedelic piece that recalls Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd with a smidgeon of early 90s Voivod and Melvins. It’s an eccentric yet fascinating listen. The oddly titled The General Magnetic And The Spanish Wormhole is an interesting instrumental which to borrow a much overused and clichéd phrase ‘takes you on a journey’ from which you may never arrive. Concluding the album is I Feel The Comfort (The Hum Of The Machine) hints at Rush which will no doubt please Murroni to hear, what with him being an almighty fan of that band.
The Hum Of The Machine builds upon the promise of Gramma Vedetta‘s aforementioned prior releases and marks their finest, most fully realised release to date. The band amply demonstrate that being ‘progressive’ doesn’t have to indicate tedious virtuosity and pompously fantastical lyrics, rather a willingness to take musical risks within the traditionally conservative music genres of stoner and doom metal. Even if someone like me who has little to no patience for the likes of Mastodon, Baroness and their ilk can embrace this record wholeheartedly, then there’s no reason why you can’t.
Scribed by: Reza Mills