Fully paid-up members of Belgium's rapidly-growing stoner rock scene, Flanders three-piece Grotto came together after meeting at the inaugural edition of Antwerp's Desertfest prompting a series of heavily improvised late-night jam sessions resulting in their August 2015 debut EP, Odyssean.
Having honed their craft with a series of high-tensile live shows, the band now return with their full-length debut, Smokonomicon, released in a strictly limited run of slime green cassettes (with an accompanying digital download and fold-out A6 art print) on Eggs in Aspic.
Written and recorded by themselves, the album – adorned with lavish Tolkienesque artwork by Robin Van Oyen (Stonerobixxx, Obey The Riff) – serves up a brooding, psychedelic sludge-rock opus comprised of four heavy slabs of pummelling percussion and textured riffage which takes its cues from the likes of Mastodon, Tool, Elder and Neurosis.
The result is the sort of album best listened to behind closed doors, when the sky clouds over and nightmarish creatures come out to play.
“Smokonomicon tells the story of a giant who resides in his own mountain,” explains guitarist Marvin Dinneweth. “Opening track Giant's Den reflects the heavy sounds that dwell within the mountain, while Swamp March and Myth of the Kolossus move into darker, more experimental territory before the giant's slayed and relative calm is instilled with nine minute-long album closer, Cosmic Whispers.”
Propelled by the thunderous rhythm section of Jeroen Moerman (bass) and Arno Tucker Cottyn (drums), Smokonomicon is an album that digs in, shifts and contorts within the mind long after initial listen, or in the words of the band themselves: “It's a huge earth-shifting event inspired by thunderous weather and an uprising of giants and gollums.”