Granicus: Granicus – "piercingly high-pitched" proto-metal from Ohio

Granicus album cover

Granicus were a hard and heavy, proto-metal five-piece from Cleveland, Ohio. This is made very clear with a scathing attack on their home town, which they described as being the ‘uptight, uncool, unhappy, un-groovy, un-far-out, un-funky, un-neat, un-mellow, un-hip, greaseball capital of the world!

Ironically, the song in question (titled Cleveland Ohio) is one of the most ripping tracks on their self-titled album, which couldn’t have helped local sales, Granicus is a killer album, with smoking twin-guitar solos, great riffs and piercingly high-pitched vocals from Woody Leffel, who also plays acoustic guitar. His manic shrieks cut right to the bone, coming across like a pissed-off Robert Plant-meets-early-Geddy Lee.

Opening track You’re In America is an intense blast of hard rock with a punk attitude and snarl, which simply rules. Bad Talk is short and simple with a Stooges vibe to the lead riff, while When You’re Movin’ is heavy upbeat blues reminiscent of UK heavies Leaf Hound. And among the raucous rocking are some superb gentle moments, such as acoustic instrumental Twilight, complete with Mellotron strings.

Allegedly there was serious interest in recording a follow-up for Columbia Records after the band’s deal with RCA fell through, but the disillusioned band dissolved during negotiations.

Re-formed in 2010, Granicus released an album of previously unheard material dating back to the mid-70s.

Granicus, RCA, USA, 1973. £80+

Lee Dorrian

Lee Dorrian is best known as a former member of grindcore band Napalm Death and later frontman of doom metal band Cathedral. Currently a member of stoner metal supergroup With the Dead, he founded his own record label, Rise Above Records, in 1988. They've released albums by Ghost, Twin Temple, Orange Goblin, Pentagram, Sunn O))) and many more. He writes the Buried Treasure column for Classic Rock magazine, about rare underground rock records.