GROUNDCREW
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Groundcrew – Civilizations (Self Released)
April 25, 2005

I can’t say for certain whether there is a “sound” that defines Canadian metal bands, but when l listened to Civilizations by Toronto’s Groundcrew, the mix of progressive metal and thrash just sounded Canadian to me. I think it has something to do with the manner in which many of the country’s bands always seem to hold on to those classic metal roots and the way several really thrash it up. And I’m talking about bands as diverse as Eidolon, Exciter, Rush and Voivod. Anyway, Civilizations is a mighty fine independent release that will appeal to the old school thrashers and the prog-minded. The one band that I’m reminded of throughout the album isn’t even Canadian, Flotsam and Jetsam. The comparison isn’t a perfect one, but the way Groundcrew injects thrash riffing, pace-changing proggy rhythms, and a bass line that refuses to stay put just made me think of the band I guess. At the risk of beating this Canadian thing to death, you can in fact hear a pronounced Rush influence as well. D.D. Murley’s vocals are of the higher-end variety, but not power metal whiny, and his style fits Groundcrew’s arrangements nicely. These guys are good songwriters as well. Every composition is interesting and rocks like hell at the same time. Tunes like “Suspend your Disbelief” exemplify the band’s brilliant mix of aggressive proggy thrash with bass work that you can FEEL. Throughout the album, the rhythms moves from ferociously driving to franticly paced to staccato (vocals too) to soaring. Brief keyboard interludes like “Cassiopeia” add to the album’s spacey (both literally and figuratively) feel and I dig the way that mellow piece in particular leads into the up-tempo thrash aggression of “Constellations.” Up-tempo rocker “Subterraneans” is another highlight with its power slam riffs and fiery lead work. There is a lot to sink your teeth into on Civilizations. Bands that try to be too progressive for their own good often drown out the pure metallic qualities of the music. Groundcrew has found the balance and crafted an album that adds to Canada’s rich metal history. Well done.
- Scott Alisoglu


Groundcrew - Civilizations (Self-Release)
April 4, 2005

First glance: Metal from Canada with a focus on outer space. Not a bad portent; there is a rich history for that from Rush and Voivod to obscure classics like Sacred Blade's Of the Sun and Moon. Rush indeed appears to be part of the heritage here, well Rush with a dollop of speed added. The vocals in particular at times are very reminescent of Geddy. The progressive nature is strong, but never to the extent of moving it out of the territory of metal. The guitar, bass and drums all take their turns using each other as launch platforms for exploration of musical space. The bass in particular is very impressive, though it certainly is indebted to the drums, which are a tad restrained but an interesting amalgamation of traditional metal structures, 70's style Moonisms and a bit of the professor.

Highlights are "Gorf" which in many of it's parts could have fit in snuggly with Rush's material circa 77', "Subterraneans" a speedy and relatively straightforward number for this band, "Artifice" with it's great guitar solo toward the end, the soft interlude "Cassiopeia", which demonstrates the high melodic composition skills here and closer "Constellations" a very skilled slab of progressive metal.

All sounds wonderful right? Well there is one draw back...the production. From the gate you need to turn the treble down significantly or it's tinny nature get's very annoying. The production is also somewhat flat and powerless. It's a shame because I really think that without that hampering factor this could be looked back at as a classic in future years. This one's not quite there due to that factor and a bit of awkward, not fully developed feeling to a couple of the songs...but this is well worth checking out as it clearly demonstrates that this band has all the ingrediants to make a classic. Keep an eye on them. - Mike Ballue


Discography

Groundcrew - "Groundcrew E.P." (2003)
Groundcrew - "Civilizations" (Feb 2005)

3 tracks from "Civilizations" are posted in the AUDIO link for this band, and more are avaliable at www.groundcrew.ca

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Bio

GROUNDCREW's sound is a blending of NWOBHM attitude/sound (ala Maiden)with the more progressive side of garage metal (early Rush) and the lyrical integrity of political thrash (mid period Megadeth). Each member brings diverse and distinct influences into the band's enigmatic style.

Groundcrew is based in Toronto and play throughout the GTA. The band will be releasing thier debut full length disc in February, 2005.