Album review in Get Ready To Rock UK (Mar 2012)
Gruhak - 'Make A Stand' Gruhak Music (2012)
There's a proud spirit of independence here from the excellent musicianship to the self proclaimed DIY production and engineering, both of which is excellent.
They have after all produced a dozen self penned tracks that are well conceptualized and faultlessly played, shifting from the slow building, lung bursting acoustic/electric rock ballad 'Free' to the self titled, flat out boogie finale.
It's a retro musical journey with well structured songs full of many classic rock influences, but its isn't until the slow burning big rock ballad 'Into the Dark’ that they really reveal their true selves and engage you with a climactic arrangement.
Given the recent upsurge in recycled rock blues from the likes of Black Country Communion it might seem churlish to question a band's retro direction. And there's no doubting the passion, commitment and the strengths of their songs, let alone the superb vocals of band leader Boris.
On the acoustic, harmony driven 'Your Song', which asks the question 'can you feel it?' by the close of the song you really do get into the vibe.
'No No No' steals a Faces riff on the intro and rocks with plenty of bluster and will doubtlessly be a stage favorite, while 'End of Days' relies on a Zeppelin riff and slips into a Free style work out and some Jim Morrison vocal stylings over a quiet / loud dynamic. If nothing else it's the kind of track that shows a hungry rock band with the chops to pull off all their musical ambitions.
There's a lovely mandolin and gentle acoustic blend on 'So Much To Say' which is another layered classic rock track full of sparkling musicianship with a Marshall Tucker style southern rock feel right down to the guitar/piano break.
Guitarist Ivan adds more Jimmy Page licks on 'Same Kind of People'. It's a song that doesn't quite live up to its familiar intro, although it does have some nifty picking. 'Mother's Son' is better, making good use of some power chords, a rasping lead vocal and a guitar driven intensity and that provides Gruhak with one of the best hard rock tracks on the album.
The whole thing is wrapped up by 'Gruhak Boogie', another obvious live favorite which sounds like the late Bon Scott at his best.
Review by Pete Feenstra
Album review in Lyric Lounge UK (May 2012)
Gruhak – ‘Make A Stand’ (Gruhak Music 2012)
The album starts off with the song Free, and right away Gruhak stamp their identity on your cerebral cortex. One thing is clear, these guys mean business! Lead singer Boris has a voice that is gravelly and fits this genre perfectly, but he is also able to emote with sensitivity to the more lyrical music this band can so naturally produce. Many tracks stand out with resplendent harmonies, cool guitar riffs, Chuck Berry solo snippets and Bonham-esque drums, all of which evoke the halcyon days of classic rock when acts such as Led Zeppelin triumphantly roamed the earth.
Going further, one could draw more modern-day parallels with bands such as Bon Jovi and The Black Crows. Make a Stand is a great debut album that keeps the listener engaged throughout a journey that pays homage to the classics whilst at the same time spinning its own brand into the mixture. However, Gruhak are by no means a mere tribute act and any naysayers are invited to step in line and listen to one of the stand out tracks, End of Days, which surely cements Gruhak’s growing reputation as being worthy torch bearers for this much beloved genre. Viva la rebirth!
Reviewed by Stephen Love and Andy Roles
Album Review in Music News UK (May 2012)
Gruhak - 'Make a Stand' (Gruhak Music 2012)
BBC is currently rerunning a lot of their archive material including some of the great guitar bands like Lizzy, Bad Company, Nazareth or Lynyrd Skynyrd. They all share great vocalists, superb guitar and a lot of hair as well as music with power and heart.
There are reasons why these re-runs are so popular: the music is individual, the bands have a sense of dynamics and there is huge emotion and passion on show. They also play music that many, many fortysomethings grew up with and never grew away from.
Which leads us to Gruhak. Listening to this album tells me a great deal about their influences as well as their skill. 'Make A Stand' could be Focus reborn while 'Your Song' has Yes all over it. But that doesn't matter one jot because they play brilliantly, write songs that took me back to my teens and put a big smile where it is supposed to be.
I love the Faces-esque 'No No No' because it is a dumb as the Faces were and the solo in the middle is classic but I also get a big old lump in my throat over 'End Of Days' - perfect driving music and Clarkson should investigate it pronto.
Gruhak hail from Croatia which suggests there might be a fine scene in Eastern Europe - time someone brought them over here I think.
Review by Andy Snipper