Unholy Heaviness

Portland rockers Holy Grove bring their snaky sludge to Eugene

Gregg Emley, bassist with Portland hard rockers Holy Grove, tells me his bandmates wanted to workshop their new material on the road before heading back into the studio. The band hopes to release the follow-up to their 2016 self-titled debut sometime later this year.

“We’re going to be playing one or two old songs,” Emley says of his band’s upcoming tour dates, but otherwise expect all new material.

Holy Grove plays heavy metal and hard rock that revs with the engine of Black Sabbath — “stoner-y doom kind of stuff,” as Emley describes it. Vocalist Andrea Vidal’s tectonic voice lies somewhere among Robert Plant, Grace Slick and an earthquake.

Alongside Emley, guitarist Trent Jacobs and drummer Eben Travis create a most unholy heaviosity: a fuzzed-out and graphic riff-rock pornography. And on tracks like “Nix” from the band’s debut, there’s the sludgy and snaky groove of classic Alice in Chains.

“You can’t help but have a little bit of that in your DNA if you’re playing hard rock in the Pacific Northwest,” Emley explains. He goes on to say that spending long months indoors during the rainy reason has a definite influence on his band’s dark songwriting.

But while some contemporary metal pushes the extremes of listenability, Holy Grove feels almost traditional, appealing to those who grew up on Blue Cheer as well as young hard-rock acolytes.

It’s best to just strap a helmet on and get ready.

Holy Grove plays with Portland’s Elephant Gun and Eugene’s Coyote 8 pm Sunday, March 18, at Old Nick’s; $10, 21 plus.