Gloomball

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Alen Ljubic – Vocals
Björn Daigger – Guitars
Jossi Lenk – Guitars
Basti Moser – Bass
Danny Joe Hofmann- Drums

The scene pricked up its ears in April 2013 when the impressive debut album by German newcomer act GLOOMBALL took the German rock and metal scene unawares. Their powerful rock statement was entitled “The Distance” and ensured that the five-piece fronted by Alen Ljubic became an internationally known quantity overnight. Subsequent tours and concerts alongside EAT THE GUN, MOTORJESUS, EISBRECHER and SALTATIO MORTIS, among others, reinforced the impression that this was a band that we would hear much more of in the future. And indeed, GLOOMBALL are now ready to unleash yet another brilliant recording: their second album “The Quiet Monster” is ready for release and leaves no doubt that the group has definitely grown. Stylistically, “The Quiet Monster” picks up seamlessly where its strong predecessor left off, going one step further in terms of composition and lyrics. The twelve new tracks have turned out even more diverse and dynamic and Ljubic’s words are mature reflections of his emotional and intellectual world. In other words: “The Quiet Monster” is the successful second chapter that we’ve been confidently expecting from this talented act for the last two years.

The new offering is based on GLOOMBALL’s consistent line-up. As on “The Distance”, the group’s musical powers are shared equally by Ljubic, the guitarists Björn Daigger and Jossi Lenk, bassist Basti Moser and skinsman Danny Joe. However, unlike their debut, this time the songs for “The Quiet Monster” were supplied by all band members. “The Distance was written mainly by Björn and me, whereas this time around, Jossi, Basti and Danny also contributed to the creative process, which is why the album as a whole has turned out to be so much more diverse and multi-faceted,” explains Ljubic. And there’s another innovation which has audibly influenced the final product: “The Quiet Monster” had GLOOMBALL work with their favoured producer Kristian “Kohle” Kohlmannslehner (HÄMATOM, CREMATORY, POWERWOLF, among others) at his Kohlekeller Studios near Frankfurt. Ljubic: “Kohle was at the top of our list because we’ve always liked his broad range which includes all kinds of genres, from death metal to rock. Plus we really wanted to involve a sixth person with an open mind who would be able to add his ideas and experience as a kind of cherry on the cake. Kohle and the band were on the same wavelength from the start, as you can hear from the result.”

And he’s right, “The Quiet Monster” marks a development in every respect. Typical GLOOMBALL rock belters such as ‘Straight To Hell’ and ‘Towards The Sun’ document this band’s pure energy and their talent to combine dynamism and catchiness in perfect measures. But the new album goes even further: ‘Sullen Eyes’ presents GLOOMBALL from a surprisingly earthy and heavy side, a heavy metal groove track with – as Ljubic calls it – “an unusually nasty feel by GLOOMBALL standards”. ‘Blood Red World’ is equally experimental, even if it has a different stylistic orientation, and sees GLOOMBALL embark on new paths, working with choirs and even experimenting with string sections towards the end of the track. Talking of choirs: the background vocals on ‘Monster’ and ‘Blue Is Turning Into Gray’ feature renowned support by Matthias Hechler of German gothic metal act CREMATORY.

The lyrics penned by Alen Ljubic, which have turned out as brilliantly as ever, also deserve a mention. Having already clad his well-thought-out stories in appropriate words on “The Distance”, this time around the GLOOMBALL frontman’s themes are even more personal, such as on the album opener ‘Monster’ with striking lines such as “light the world up be the monster, I will never break and I know I can take this monster.” Ljubic: “I like to work with metaphors, and somehow there’s a little monster in every one of us, it all depends on whether you use it in a positive or negative way.” Ljubic’s lyrics have a lot of depth and expression without sounding cryptic or aloof. “Of course I want listeners to understand what I’m trying to say so that I can get across my ideas and views.” He has succeeded in this particularly on ‘All Beauty Dies’, his musical obituary to a dear relative, whose loss Ljubic had to come to terms with last year, again presenting GLOOMBALL as a band which has lyrics and music enter into a close liaison.

So one thing is certain: “The Quiet Monster” will impress not only those who already enjoyed “The Distance” and have celebrated the band live on stage – especially since their scheduled tour with HÄMATOM in March/April 2015 is set to prove that GLOOMBALL have made a quantum leap in the right direction in every way.

Matthias Mineur (February 2015)