Grotus are a band with very little in common with other groups. They have two drummers, two bassists and umlauts above the consonants in their name (fuck copy-editors, right). These noise-merchants from California emerged out of the late-80’s/ early-90’s industrial scene along with bands like Sharkbait and Consolidated (the latter kind of eclipsed them in popularity), also known for scaring kids and fascinating art-school attendees. Grotus were a multi-media band, incorporating organic musicians, electronic enhancement, samples and non-traditional instrumentation.
They sound like tribal field recordings looped over taiko drums while Rammstein play Faith No More covers concurrently and over the top the aurora borealis levels above you so that your hallucinogen-dredged synapses just give up trying to work out what is real and what is not. While Grotus was initially captivated by the transhumanism of the traditional (if there is such a thing) sound of heavy industrial, their later releases have a more human warmth, starting with Slow Motion Apocalypse, which introduced Bruce Boyd on drums to challenge the ascendency of the beat-machine. The overlaps of the biological and not become so abstruse and irrelevant it would be better to say that Grotus is a band of demigods or monsters than men.
“If Grotus is a cyborg, its skin is encrusted with tech but its guts are still human. See, the human groove is essential to what we do. On the other hand, we still want to take a computer and clobber you with it.” Frontman Lars Fox
There is a certain timelessness to Grotus’ sound in the way dystopian hues mix perfectly with a gargantuan, hirsute rock sound to neutralise each other temporally and leave the listener in a time-devoid trip-world of battling monoliths. The sound of Grotus is, in a word, colossal, with a ballistic rhythm.
Their live shows were like a squash-match on sedate eardrums. Grotus were a relentless touring band, believing they could recruit listeners better via coming to their town rather than sending plastic envoy. Live, they incorporated weird characters, audience participation and videos that they could manipulate (play backwards and forwards thru reel-to-reel) taking butthole surfers mind-fuckery up north to gambol with other silicon samplery.
Their lyrics ranging from intensely political to the stupidly pedestrian and mall-core. The type of po mo Pynchon helped create and that a squid jig like me can get into.
Albums: LPs: Brown (91), Slow Motion Apocalypse (93) and Mass (96).
Slow Motion Apocalypse is easiest to come by because you can cop reissues and that at Alternative Tentacles.
Finally: As Dave23532 says on a Grotus Youtube video, “Grotus are one of the greatest undiscovered band of all time”.
Fans of: Mr Bungle, Ministry, NIN.