I first heard of Gloomball, the alternative metal band out of Germany, when their lead singer Alen Ljubic followed me on Twitter. As you do, you look a little deeper into the individuals that choose to follow you. As soon as I found out he was a lead singer, for a German-based metal band, I knew the result would be superb as Germany has been home to some of the most respected rock and metal bands that include, but are certainly not limited to, Rammstein, Scorpions, Accept, and Gamma Ray.
Germany also plays host to the world-renowned Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) heavy metal festival. It is then no doubt that a band like Gloomball has risen to deliver an impressive debut album.
The Distance is Gloomball's first studio album, but it certainly doesn't play like an initial release. As soon as I heard it, I couldn't help but think of the impact that Guns 'N Roses made with their debut Appetite For Destruction. Both albums were fresh takes on the genres they entered and while Appetite For Destruction may be the more commercially successful of the two, there is no denying that Gloomball will reach astronomical heights, throughout their career, with a style that is uniquely metal driven, while remaining accessible to the masses.
Gloomball isn’t just for the head bangers. Gloomball is for the rock and roll lovers. After all, they covered Robert Tepper’s No Easy Way Out beautifully and have a ballad-style song, Living With My Tender Pain, closing out the album. I know some metal-heads detest ballads, but I find they can be an incredible addition to an artist’s catalogue, if done well.
When I listen to rock or metal bands, the vocalist is the most important element for me. They must be able to hold tune and not just scream random lyrics. I can’t tell you how many bands play incredibly well, but are not added to my collection because of the lack of vocal talent. Well, Gloomball doesn’t suffer from this problem as Alen simply has it! The man is gifted with vocal talent and appears to be comfortable across all metal subgenres. His vocal abilities remind me of David Draiman (Disturbed, Device) and Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour) with their ability to belt out extreme guttural vocals, but maintain control and tonality while shifting tempo and style. Alen's vocals are truly amongst the most amazing that I have ever heard in the metal scene.
Gloomball’s The Distance is one album you really must listen to. It is an exceptional debut by a band that I truly believe will reach international headlining status, in the next decade, if they continue down this road. It is filled with heavy beats and riffs that will appeal to the demon within, but with songs like The Distance and Bitter Place, you will find yourself singing along to the album. You will likely hear the band play homage to many of the great bands that have come before, but they apply a fresh and unique presentation to the metal mix. I can honestly say, with complete certainty, that Gloomball plays like a band that has recorded several albums together, rather than a debut, as they have already found their sound.
The Distance is available on CD, TIDAL Hi-Fi, Apple Music, and the iTunes Music Store. While I have yet to purchase the CD, it is in the wish-list. I do wish they would release a vinyl edition of the album, but the last I heard regarding this was they were considering it for their follow-up album, The Quiet Monster. Unfortunately, a vinyl edition for either album has not yet surfaced.
I have found the mastering to be uniform across TIDAL Hi-Fi and Apple Music, so I suggest you just listen to the album and turn the volume up so the neighbors can hear Gloomball in the distance.