Hailing from Albuquerque, The Ground Beneath play southern-driven heavy metal with a modern and technical vibe. The band has released numerous CDs throughout the years, and their latest self-titled CD brings The Ground Beneath to a much more mature sound, one layered with confident guitar riffs, a crushing rhythm section, and plenty of groove to spare.
The 15-track self-titled CD showcases the distinct groove of this power trio. Right out front are the blistering guitars of Steve Civerolo. Both six- and 12-string axes are brought to bear on the songs, with the latter setting down some melodic and dreamy sequences while the former tap into the lower end of heavy metal to set down some harsh and intense hooks and leads. Shadowing the guitar riffs is bassist Hunter McCoy, whose woofer stands outs on its own when necessary and bolsters the guitar screams most of the time. And then there’s drummer Brian Scott, who drives each track with a crisp pace. However, Scott knows when to pull back, giving the rest of the music room to breathe.
The one facet of The Ground Beneath that brings the band into a more alternative metal vibe is Civerolo’s distinct vocals. Civerolo combines the harsher drive of metal and hardcore vocals with a softer edge, particularly during the choruses. It’s a solid approach that complements the rest of the music well. Civerolo’s vocals remind me a little of Acid Bath, and that’s very cool indeed.
The power trio on this self-titled album is joined by various special guests, including Brian Ostrom on bass, Paul Civerolo on guitar, and Laurie Selby on cello. These guest musicians make their presence known on some of the tracks, adding spice to the already progressive and technical leanings of the music.
And that’s perhaps the best listening point on all the tracks of this self-titled CD: the sheer spectacle and songwriting prowess on display from beginning to end. Yes, each track stands on its own, but the best way to listen to The Ground Beneath’s latest CD is all the way through. The experience is akin to a river-raft ride, with the ebbs and flows complemented by intense rapids and percolating moments of clarity.